How could I not have heard of this? Am I that out of the loop?
The site is called imeem.com. The description is typical web 2.0: You build playlists by selecting from their library of tracks, then share your playlists with your “friends” or the whole site. What is blowing my mind is the size of the library, and the quality of the streamed audio.
The content page shows a very impressive list of media companies. Equally indie and big studio.
I’ve done a number of searches for current indie-ish bands like The Fiery Furnaces, The National, Besnard Lakes, Blonde Redhead, Black Mountain, and all have come back with pretty much the entire catalog from each artist. We’re talking full albums. Streaming in high quality flash audio. Playing out through a USB to RCA cable into my fairly decent stereo, through fairly decent speakers, I can’t tell the difference between the streamed audio and my eMusic acquired version of the same track.
The site has a very handy QuickMix function, which allows you to build a playlist on the fly as you move around the site. Just click on the add to QuickMix button next to each track and you’re done. Save your quickmik to access it anytime.
I discovered the site late this afternoon, and have done little beside explore it.
Did I mention that it’s free? The business model seems to be based around advertising and sales. View a song’s page, and you’ll see a download button. Click that to be given the option to buy the track from iTunes or Amazon. I assume there’s some kind of affiliate thing going on, with revenue being split between the label and the site.