Imeem has a great Android app. In fact, it’s still one of the few very good apps available on that platform as it continues to find its legs. It’s so good that we gave it a Crunchie this year. But as good as it is, it took the application coming to the iPhone platform to push the company past a big milestone: 1 million mobile platform installs.
Imeem Mobile for the iPhone, which we were the first to report on back in May right before it launched, already accounts for 1/3 of Imeem’s mobile users, we’re told. It’s been consistently in the top 5 music apps and near the top 50 overall in the App Store since then. But does that mean that it’s better than the Android version? No, in fact, it’s worse for one reason: It can’t run in the background.
That of course, isn’t Imeem’s fault. Rival Pandora suffers from the same problem because Apple will not allow these apps to stay open while you do other things on your phone, or put its screen to sleep. That may change eventually, but it seems likely that this isn’t happening anytime soon. So, for now, Imeem has decided to continue this fully two-pronged approach to the mobile app world: Android and iPhone.
On one hand it now has the sexy iPhone app, which gives them access to all those iPhone users. On the other hand, it has its fully-functional Android app, which offers much higher engagement. In fact, Android listening session lengths are more than twice as long as they are on the iPhone, Imeem CEO Dalton Caldwell tells us. And the Android platform offers another advantage in that Imeem knows that its app is now on 2 out of every 3 Android phones out there right now. That’s pretty crazy. And 1/3 of the users who install the mobile version of Imeem are completely new to the service.
Of course, all of these things are just fairly inconsequential stats if the service isn’t monetizing them in some way. There has been of a lot of speculation about Imeem’s future, after reports surfaced that some of the major music labels which had been backing it, were not seeing returns on their investment and were backing out. Warner Music was the one in particular that was unhappy. But reports today indicate that they’re back in the mix after renegotiating some kind of deal with Imeem. Caldwell wouldn’t comment on that, but we’ve heard that Warner is back in as well. This follows Imeem raising more money to continue onward last month.
In terms of monetization, Caldwell said that Imeem beat their Q2 goal for ad sales, and that they’re particularly excited about the mobile ad numbers they’re seeing. And there’s apparently a growing interest in cross-platform ad buys, from advertisers who want access to the site, the mobile apps, audio ads, and the widgets that Imeem makes, all in one package.
Pandora told us last month that it had been seeing some great numbers with regards to music downloads being driven by their app. Caldwell sounds less enthusiastic about those, but said the click-through rates are always good in that area because there’s such a high intention rate when it comes to buying music through the app.
So with a million mobile installs and a firm commitment to the iPhone and Android platforms, what’s next for Imeem in the mobile space? Well, the company is taking a wait-and-see approach. When asked about the hot phone of choice right now, the Palm Pre, Caldwell is cautious. “We’ve been very judicious in our use of resources,” he says. But he notes that they are watching the Pre closesly (Pandora was one of the phone’s launch partners), and sounds much more interested in that platform than any of the other ones out there not named the iPhone or Andorid. “They [the other platforms] don’t have a great distribution model. It’s a total pain to install anything on the BlackBerry.”
Instead of an expansion to another platform, we’ll have to make due with an update to the Imeem Android app, which is due shortly.