So how do you become a member of the Imeem community? Easy, just sign up. A basic account is free of charge and you can instantly begin listening to free streaming music and creating custom playlists to share with others. Imeem is able to do this because it made deals with all four of the major record labels -- Warner, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group. Imeem largely gets its revenue from advertisers, so it agreed to give the major labels a piece of that action, along with a fraction of a cent each time a song is played.
Playlists are assembled with an easy drag and drop into the playlist folder that you've named. Think of it as a mixed tape for the new millennium. Once you've assembled your playlist, it's accessible to anyone who wants to listen to your mix. Band searches bring up every song they've uploaded to Imeem, as well as recommendations for similar music and a band bio if they have one uploaded.
Here's where the social aspect comes in to play. When browsing songs, you get a 30-second preview. If you want to hear the full version of the song, you click on an easy-to-spot link and you're taken, via a separate window, to the account page of the user who initially uploaded the song. Once there, you can view his or her profile, music playlists, video playlists, photos and blog, or send them a message. You can start groups for people with like-minded musical tastes and view the friends and groups of other members on their profile pages.
Here are some other fun things you can do in Imeem:
- Battles -- Pit songs against each other, asking friends to choose which one they like best.
- Quick Mix -- This is a temporary playlist you can make while browsing that can be saved for later listening.
- Polls -- Ask your friends anything you desire with this function.
- Blog -- This is your online weblog, like a shared diary or journal.
- Public groups -- Invite other users, upload video, music, photos and blog posts.
- Private groups -- You can only create blog posts and upload photos.
- Upload video -- The video doesn't need to be music related.
- Upload photos -- These are your personal photos or music images. Treat it like a Flickr page.
- Badge -- Create your own personal "business card."