Imeem Inks Deals With Big Four for Free Music, Its Soul

imeem.jpgThe media-sharing/social networking site Imeem has inked a deal with Universal Music, making it the first site of its kind to forge unholy bonds with all of the Big Four. Calling it a blood contract wouldn't be too unfair, given how much Imeem has to bleed out for its users to simply embed and stream music (i.e., promote artists for the labels): Universal gets a guaranteed payment every time a song's streamed, plus a cut of the ad revenue from ads shown on the same page as one of their songs.

No wonder labels don't want to deal with iTunes. This kind of deal is pure money: Imeem's paying the labels so that its users can do free promo work for them! Why pay to advertise your artists when someone else can pay you to do it? Hell, users even do all of the uploading work. If you recall, this kind of arrangement's familiar to Universal—they got kickbacks on every Zune sold—and more immediately, they've got a service going with Nokia that intuition says they're not hooked into for charity or a good time on your part.

While this deal's not really making too much headway in their battle against iTunes, it shows they're looking pretty much anywhere and everywhere that'll make 'em a buck while they look for an endrun around Steve. They probably won't get his contract with the devil canceled anytime soon, but it looks like they've found that internet thing they were looking for. Maybe they'll find that "Facebook" thing next. [WSJ]

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