Top 5 Niche Social Networks



Imeem is a free social network built around music. Users interact to post and discover new artists, share playlists and watch videos. By building personalized playlists (something imeem calls "social mixtapes"), users can share their favorite music and artists with the community. Other members are welcome to browse and comment on everyone else's playlists. Imeem offers streaming songs from just about every major and indie label, so it's easy to locate your favorite songs. Even though the music on imeem is free streaming, users can purchase from iTunes or download ringtones if they find something they really like.

Once a user locates a song, he or she can rate it according to how much he or she likes or dislikes it. Users can search for music by highest rated, most playlisted and most discussed. Community members set up their own fan groups for their favorite artists, sharing information through discussion forums, photos and blog posts.

The site, currently kept afloat by private investors, started in 2003 and has about 25 million visitors per month [source: Sandoval]. Whenever a user streams or embeds a song from the site, imeem pays the recording company that owns the song licensing fees. These fees can add up, and many music social networking sites are currently struggling to find a profitable business model.

Musicians and artists are encouraged to set up profiles on imeem. They use the site to share and promote their music, by uploading tracks that others can embed on their blogs or profiles. Musicians can post information like tour dates and interviews as well. The site has also expanded to attract directors, providing a place to upload short films and videos. Users can then comment on and rate the films.

Imeem also provides statistics to users so they can track their own content -- to check out who's accessing their profile, monitor the popularity of their playlists or see if anyone is embedding their music on a blog or Web site.