I’m sad to see imeem go. Thanks to imeem, in 2009 I had the best looking iPhone app icon on my home screen. It’s a cute little cassette tape icon, and it represents all of my playlists and digital mix tapes within the imeem platform. And ya know what? That little icon actually made me smile every time I used my iPhone. Even if I didn’t use the app, I smiled back at that icon knowing what could happen when I clicked it: music!
But now that cute little mix tape icon won’t work anymore, the imeem API is dead, and the service is completely dissolved. All of my playlists are gone, all of your playlists are gone. Any connection imeem users made within the community, with artists, with labels, and with the service is lost.
But i still keep that cassette tape icon on my home screen. I didn’t use imeem all that much, but I did experience a connection with the product, even if just through the pleasurable experience of clicking the cassette icon and listening to what felt like a mix tape. Enjoying that icon on my front home screen was part of my investment in imeem.
Since the MySpace purchase, when I touch the icon, nothing happens. In fact, if you want to say goodbye to your friends in the community – forget it. If you want to retrieve playlists, forget it. If you want to retrieve your faux “revenue” share – forget it. The whole thing is over, and MySpace very quickly decided that with the end of imeem none of us need to remember the ways we enjoyed it. Your music preferences do not matter. Your behavior and feelings do not matter. Your connection to the product does not matter. Any identity you maintained on imeem is gone. From a numeric point of view, imeem provided stream counts to artists and bands – all of that data is gone, too. So long, it’s all just gone.
Brings Back Bad Memories
When CNET purchased Consumating (a social network for geeks) from former SF resident & internet rockstar Ben Brown, thousands of Consumating community members (I was one) helplessly watched as CNET shut down our community after just a couple months. All of our data, our connections, our funny pictures, our hilariously geeky trivia answers, our inter-service emails, our preferences, our Consumating nicknames – it all disappeared from the internet. It’s simply gone. It can’t be found.
Promise: I was really funny on Consumating.com, but you will never know.
Consumating is an interesting example, so I cornered friend and Consumating Founder Ben Brown during his recent trip to San Francisco. Ben told me that everywhere he goes, he still runs into community members who thank him for creating Consumating and who share “Very heartfelt words with me, some say they had the best times of their life with the site.” So it may not come as quite a shock that “a few hundred Consumating community members now use a refugee site, where they can still reminisce, but even they are nervous that it will simply just disappear one day. They are afraid it will just go away.”
Technology has a responsibility to humans, lest we forget to heed everything we learned from Battlestar Galactica. Ben agrees. “Tech Businesses have a responsibility to respect the connection between members of the community and the people who run it.” Throw music in the mix, and double down both your connectivity power and your potential emotional losses.
I’m not just an imeem reject and Consumating refugee, I’m also a geocities survivor. My first geocities site was tremendously bad, but despite the blinking underlined bold text, it was my very first website – ever. And there’s absolutely no record of its existence because of Yahoo’s purchase in 1999.
In the wake of imeem’s fire sale to MySpace, MySpace neglected to reflect on recent history. And now your playlists and your friends, your messages and notes, all those photos you took at the imeem photo booth at Treasure Island 2008 – it’s all gone. It’s not imeem’s fault. You are strongly encouraged to thank the fine folks who built their product. However, MySpace’s failure to treat a global music community with respect should start teaching other music services the high value of exportable playlists and shared community data.
So long, imeem – and thanks for all the mixtapes! I’ll remember them. It’s all I can do.