Warner streams entire catalogue for free
Thanks again to Andrew at element creative for this: Warner Music Group is offering its entire music and video catalog for free streaming on Imeem, a Web site focused on letting users share music playlists.
The way it works is that Imeem users can make playlists with Warner music, and in return Warner get a share of the ad revenues.
My thoughts on this? First, it's a welcome addition to the two current models of buy-to-own and subscription. In fact it's pretty close to a subscription model except you don't have to pay, so that ticks my boxes.
To state the obvious, it can only be really successful if all the majors are involved, not just Warner. Just as the record companies discovered when they tried to set up their own online stores years ago, to be credible users need to be able to listen to the artists they like, not just those who are on a particular label.
The most interesting question for me is about the economics. Either Warner has agreed to a percentage of ad revenues going forward, in which case they are reliant on the revenues that Imeem can generate (unknown, presumably). Or Imeem has given guarantees to Warner, in which case they are exposed if things don't quite go as planned. So one of them is prepared to take a big risk - which I like.
It looks like you can embed tracks from Imeem on your own website - I'm not sure where the ad revenues are coming from in that scenario - but I look forward to seeing the facebook app.