According to imeem executives imeem has more than 25 million visitors per month with over 65,000 new users every day.
imeem provides a number of mechanisms to make content available to audiences outside of the site through RSS syndication and embedding content into external sites. However, since February 2007 MySpace has been taking steps to limit the posting of imeem content on its site: any updates or comments have the word 'imeem' removed upon posting, making it impossible to even mention the site. It has since emerged that this block is likely because MySpace is attempting to copy the music features of imeem and is negotiating with record labels to license content. Myspace has blocked imeem embeds as of July 22, 2008.
imeem used to require a software client, to support its distributed database model and provide features such as instant messaging and file sharing. However, this has since been phased out, and the site has been entirely web based since June 2007.
imeem links users through topic groups which were originally called "meems", relating to common interests. Media content can exist in custom profile pages and topic groups (called "meems", from the word "meme"), as well as in browsable content channels and charts. Meems can serve as online communities for artists, bands, clubs, films, schools, festivals, concert tours, friends, and sports enthusiasts. However a recent redesign of the site has renamed most of the references to the word "meem" with "group", presumably this is an attempt to reduce user confusion over the word. Formerly, it was possible for links to be made between groups which had related subject matters. However, this linking feature was only ever implemented on the client, and it is no longer possible to add or remove links with the website - the links are still visible on older groups, and officially created groups appear to have links added at creation time.
While this distributed model was interesting it proved to be difficult to attract many users since the only way to participate was to download the imeem client software. The application proved to be something of a resource hog for power users since the database could grow to quite large proportions just by associating with a few individuals who were sharing a lot of content.
Over time more features have been added to the website and now the client software is no longer functional and the innovative distributed database model has been centralized. Now that all of imeem's features are available without requiring a client download the service has rapidly grown in popularity, in particular with classes of user who have traditionally found themselves on the other side of the digital divide.. According to comscore web traffic statistics imeem.com was the fastest growing social site from October 2006-2007 with its usage rising almost 1600%.
On January 28th 2008 imeem announced that it was acquiring the music locker service anywhere.fm.
On February 1st 2008 imeem acquired the online music distributor Snocap. It had already been making extensive use of Snocap's audio fingerprinting technology and music database.
In April 2008, imeem received a new round of funding from Sequoia Capital.
However in early 2007 it was proposed that imeem's increase in popularity was due to its "laissez-faire attitude towards copyright issues".
Warner Music Group Corp. announced on July 12, 2007 that it had settled its copyright infringement lawsuit against imeem by agreeing to license its music and video content to the site for a slice of its ad revenue. Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed. Under the agreement, imeem Inc. can carry music and videos from all of the record company's artists, which include Madonna, Linkin Park and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Warner Music Group Corp has also recently released financial statements indicating that it has invested $15 million into the company .
On September 26th, 2007 it was revealed that imeem had negotiated a deal with Sony/BMG music, furthermore the same story reported that imeem was in negotiations with both EMI and Vivendi Universal. A month later imeem announced a deal with EMI music to allow their music to be freely available on the site, with one notable exception, the catalogue of The Beatles remains unavailable to any digital distribution. In December 2007 imeem completed its 'Royal Flush' of major labels when it signed a deal with Vivendi Universal, again the terms of the deal are secret, but it is presumed that users of the site can now legally share music from Universal's extensive catalogue.
If imeem determines that the legal copyright owner of an uploaded track is a record label which does not have a deal with imeem the track will be reduced to a 30 second sample when anyone except the original uploader attempts to listen to the track. Regardless of whether a full track or 30 second version is played, the user is presented with links to purchase the track from music retail sites, including Amazon.com and iTunes.
The 3 levels of privacy are:
The website obviously lacks many of the security features of the client, and since the majority of the content is now delivered from the website many of the original security features are no longer applicable outside the basic chat and file sharing features available on the client. Server-side configurations disables user's ability to use 3rd Party Programs (Such as Rich Media Downloaders for downloading media linked outside of the flash file) to download any imeem User Uploads.
For a time imeem supported a version of imeem for Mac OS X using Mono coupled with a library christened 'Dumbarton' which bridges data and methods between Objective C and Mono. The name of the library references the Dumbarton Bridge, the crossing of which has a dismal reputation due to pungent salt marshes alongside the span; as such the name "Dumbarton" serves as a suitable analogy for crossing between the two language environments. This library has been released under the LGPL as an alternative to Cocoa# and can be downloaded from the imeem site, although the imeem client for Mac is no longer available
The website heavily uses Ajax and Flash to deliver the content and allow users to access it. Video and audio are both encoded as FLV files, audio is delivered as 128kbit near CD quality MP3 data. Video is encoded to mp3 audio at 96kbit and Sorenson video at > 700kbit with resolution resized to 400 pixels wide and preserving its aspect ratio. While the video quality and resolution is significantly better than other video sites (youtube uses 300kbit video) the video sharing aspect of imeem has been largely eclipsed by the audio sharing component. In 2008 imeem upgraded the video quality further and has become one of the first media sharing sites to offer video encoded with the H.264 codec and at the original source resolution.
On March 24th imeem announced the launch of a developer's platform which will permit third party developers to interact with imeem data, this is independent of imeem's Open Social API which is as yet unreleased.