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In a display of anti-social behavior, News Corp.-owned MySpace Music bought its competitor Imeem today and tore it down. Imeem.com, imeem content embedded in other sites and the Imeem plug-in itself have all been, for lack of a better word, killed.
Imeem was bought for an undisclosed sum, although sources have told us that it was for roughly $1 million in cash and then up to between $7 and 8 million in potential earn-outs. That may be lower now because MySpace doesn’t seem to be retaining much of the talent behind Imeem — CEO Dalton Conley, CTO Brian Berg, COO Ali Aydar and VP or sales David Wade are now all consultants to help manage the acquisition, not full-time employees.
Imeem’s site now redirects to a MySpace page explaining that the company is working to transfer Imeem profiles and playlists to MySpace. Plus the application programming interface was shut down, pulling the rug out from under developers dependent on Imeem. No time line is given.
Given that Imeem seems to have been destroyed, with MySpace choosing not to retain its technology or web site, the purchase and subsequent actions can only be seen as hostile. Even if Imeem.com’s users switch to Pandora or Mog, developer Lee Martin thinks there is a hole to fill. Martin developed twt.fm — an application that reached 1.5 million users by enabling streaming music through twitter. On his blog, Martin says “…Myspace shows up to pull one of the best API platforms out from developers’ feet without warning…We [API developers] need a new streaming API partner or our services will die.”
That said, from a business perspective, Imeem’s streaming contracts were probably annulled in the event of an acquisition. That would put MySpace on the hook for all the streams initiated through the APIs — an expensive proposition.
This move follows weeks of speculation that MySpace would be purchasing Imeem. Imeem had been in financial distress for some time, even going so far as to lay off 25 percent of its staff in October 2008. I’m assuming the remaining 75 percent to be unemployed as well after today’s buyout / annihilation.
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