Published May 21, 2008Yahoo.com, the longtime leader in online music streaming, has recently lost out to upstart Imeem.com as the number one music streaming site in America. According to figures released last week, Imeem inched ahead of Yahoo in the month of March, with over ten million unique visitors.
Imeem bills itself as a "social media service," where users interact with each other by sharing audio and video found online. It's an example of "viral content sharing," over which there is currently much hullabaloo, and makes online advertisers wet their pants.
Social networking aside, it seems the main reason for Imeem's takeover was their recent signing of a deal with all four major labels allowing for free on-demand streaming for users. In what's sure to strengthen their lead, Imeem has also allowed its media catalogue to be accessed by third party developers meaning you will be hearing music on the site streamed through all sorts of independent applications and blogs.
There has been some grumbling about the numbers that put Imeem ahead: the figures originally showing Yahoo in second came from a company called Compete, who are now saying they didn't factor in artist pages from Myspace, Yahoo, etc, from which music can be streamed (though whether it's fair to count that stuff is an argument in its own right.) When that's counted, Yahoo & AOL come out on top.
Unless you're on online ad purchaser, however, it really doesn't matter: the point is Immem's visitor count had risen 58 percent in the last year, while Yahoo's has fallen by 14 percent.
The writing is on the wall: the future of music streaming is going to be through social networking sites.