The imeem music-sharing service is launching its first mobile application today — for the new Android-powered G1 phone that is itself launching on the T-Mobile network this Wednesday. So there are all sorts of interesting “firsts” here. But first, about the app itself.
Imeem is taking your user profile — information such as what songs you listen to and what artists you’re a fan of on the site — and using it to recommend “stations” comprised of songs you might like. It also offers stations based on songs that are popular among your friends, and among your favorite artists. Alternately, you can manually enter the name of a single artist or song and get a playlist of similar songs, not unlike what the music discovery service Pandora already offers.
Actions you take on the imeem Android app will be reflected on the imeem site, and vice-versa. The app is free, and available for download in the Android app marketplace.
Imeem is also using the Amazon mp3 music store, so you can go and buy a track from Amazon while listening to it on the imeem app. For those who care, by the way, tracks you buy on Amazon are free of digital rights management software — meaning you can easily put them onto any device of your choosing.
Apple and iTunes are, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be seen in this new and potentially large ecosystem.
And the Amazon purchase method on imeem is easier to use, at least at this point, than the iTunes purchase process on the iPhone. The latter currently requires that you be connected to a wifi network — you can’t necessarily buy it straight off your device, as you can with imeem and Amazon.
A range of other Android phones are being developed by various manufacturers, such as Motorola’s social networking phone that’s expected next year. If the G1 and/or these other devices prove popular with consumers, imeem’s move today may position it to ride that popularity wave and become known as the top music app to use for any Android device. To see such an early-mover advantage in action on a mobile device, look at Pandora — its iPhone app launched early on the iPhone and is now the most popular way to listen to your favorite music for free on the device.
Imeem, meanwhile, says it’s working on an iPhone app but hasn’t released it yet. In a sense, Android is looking like the last great mobile frontier.
It had better move fast, because the company’s role as a third-party service provider on social networks has also, bluntly speaking, become less interesting. Although imeem first grew big on MySpace, MySpace itself has been busy developing its own MySpace Music sub-site. Meanwhile, another rival music service, iLike, has come to dominate Facebook’s platform.
What Imeem has to build off of is its name brand. It claims 25 million monthly active users on its home site. The playlists of songs that its users can embed on other sites and social networks get an additional 85 million, it says.
So consumers already know about it. The other music application launching on Android now, TuneWiki, is far smaller — though a winner of the Android Challenge seed funding contest — so Imeem is sure to continue getting visibility. Many other music applications will no doubt also challenge imeem’s Android app, but few can boast its existing user base, or its focus on Android.