EMI Expands Mobile Licensing

EMI has become the third major record label to license songs to social-networking site Imeem, according to a CNET News report, advancing the move toward ad-supported music another step.

How does Imeem compare to SpiralFrog, which we covered yesterday? “The difference between Imeem and SpiralFrog comes down to streaming,” CNET News reports. “SpiralFrog offers free downloads as long as customers are willing to sit through some ads. One of the sticking points that some record executives have about SpiralFrog is that they hesitate to attach the word ‘free’ around their music. With millions obtaining songs for free from illegal file sharing, music-industry honchos don’t want to perpetuate the perception that songs are valueless.

“Imeem, headquartered in San Francisco, is different in that it offers music but not to own. The service is meant to help people discover songs, and Imeem has supplied links to iTunes and Amazon in case users wish to buy a song.”

That’s all well and good, but it still sounds too complicated to us. Anytime DRM is involved, these schemes to taunt users with music they can’t actually own or copy to other devices, at least without technical procedures that are often riddled with errors, strikes us as little more than a footnote in the online music industry.

EMI steps up for ad-supported streaming music [CNET News]