MONEY OR MUSIC: You just can’t get them Both
MySpace Music bought Imeem, the popular networking site, for a reported price of 8 or 10 million dollars, (most of it to pay for the staff, rather than the music or the customers, which actually went for less than $ 1 million) on Tuesday Dec 8th.
Indie Label Lawsuit
Imeem, which had been facing money problems for quite some time now, gave into the pressure when Indie label The Orchard, sought to sue it for a whopping $150,000, per record it allegedly infringed. Whatever the issue had been, Imeem, which had the lowest play on demand rates, is now dead and gone. (If you try to access it now, you get routed to the MySpace Music webpage)
MySpace definitely benefits from this move, in fact, MySpace Music- the joint initiative between record labels and News Corps, My Space, was facing a steady bunch of problems on its own, for starters, no one could find where the service was, and it forgot to host any indie label, something which helped save MySpace from nemesis FaceBook, in the first place. But this recent acquisition helps MySpace gain access to more than 16 million of Imeem’s users worldwide, along with its Snocap property, 7 million plus tracks from largely indie bands.
But while MySpace makes merry under the sun, thousands of artists have been left unpaid, since SnoCap’s liabilities to these artists (some of whom have not been paid for an entire year), was not included in the agreement.
Ultimately, in this heady mix of music and money, the only unfortunate souls seem to be the guys who stream free music, and depend on ads to generate revenue. Looking at the level of piracy on the internet, it’s really unfortunate, that people, who are trying to come up with legit ways to generate revenues, while giving the masses what they want, are suffering so much. And all because, The Big Labels play hard ball and won’t bring down the licensing fees.
It’s the outmoded structure of the music industry that is the root cause of piracy, which it itself complains about. Imeem, which bought SnoCap to fingerprint music and pay royalties where needed, was going the right way. Users would upload their remixes and home videos and SnoCap would determine how much of a song was used, and payout the original artist accordingly. But inflexible rates (even though Imeem was purported to be paying the lowest rate at $0.004, per stream) pretty much choked it to death. The music industry needs to realise that rates change with the market, keeping a fixed rate for every track you sell on the Internet, will help some, but kill a lot more.
Ad generated revenue, seems to be getting an even more outlandish dream, considering the fate that befell Imeem. Even MySpace Music is supposed to be considering, adding a subscription price to the site. It’s only sites like YouTube, which have a strong visual element, who can survive on the Ad model and still get to play free music, to the delight of its customers.