Universal Music Group's entire digital music and video catalogue will stream for free on the social media networking site, imeem.
The companies announce an agreement Monday that completes deals between all four major music companies and imeem, which compensates labels and artists by sharing ad revenue. The arrangement is a new model for the music industry, which has been struggling to increase profits as the distribution of music changes radically because of the Internet.
According to eMarketer, spending on advertising on social networks will rise from $900 million this year to more than $2.5 billion in 2011.
The social media networking site, imeem, claims 19 million unique visitors each month and 50,000 new registered users each day. Users can upload their favorite music, videos, and photos, search for and stream videos, find new content through social discovery, and create custom playlists to share with friends on and off the site.
In October, comScore ranked imeem the fastest growing social site in the United States. Hitwise ranked imeem the fourth largest American social networking site and the fourth largest American media and entertainment site. The site has drawn ads from Apple, Microsfot, AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Nike, Puma, and others.
Universal's catalogue includes works from Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, the Pussycat Dolls, Maroon 5, and Nelly. The company has operations or licenses in 77 countries. Its labels include Island Def Jam Music, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Verve, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group, and Deutsche Gramophone, among others.
"imeem has developed an innovative way to make our artists' music a central part of the social networking experience," Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of UMG, said in a statement. "More importantly, they've done so the right way -- by working with UMG to provide an exciting musical experience for consumers, while ensuring that our artists are fairly compensated for the use of their works."
The Universal deal comes after imeem has announced deals with Warner Music Group, EMI Music, and Sony BMG.