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Imeem cleans up its act

Social music site reorganizes and restructures its home page, adds a few new features--just after the launch of rival MySpace Music.

Imeem, the social music site that was thriving on user-created playlists before MySpace Music turned it into an industry trend, has announced a handful of tweaks and updates that users will be seeing soon.

Among them are a slightly redesigned homepage with featured music and video clips, a "browse" page to look at top song, artist, and genre charts, a "discover" feature that recommends music based on past history (seems like everybody's doing that these days), and individual "artist" pages that aggregate all of that artist's songs into a single place.

For Imeem, which has been subject to nagging user-interface complaints, this is a way to get the site focused and organized. "After all of that activity earlier this year, we had time to take a deep breath," Imeem vice president of marketing Matt Graves said to CNET News. Indeed, in the past year the company has acquired retail service Snocap and streaming site, and completed its array of licensing deals with all four major record labels.

And what does the company think of MySpace Music, which debuted in September? "We think that the combination of playlists in music and social networking is pretty powerful, and we've been doing it for two years," Graves said. But he took a few potshots, too, most notably at the fact that some indie artists have complained that MySpace Music focuses too much on the big guys. "We think that there are some things that are important in terms of what you offer. Indie music is a big part of what we do."

Plus, he said, Imeem offers more freedom. Its playlists are embeddable all over the Web, whereas MySpace Music's are restricted to user profiles and have some limits on length. "Given something that's locked in a profile or locked in their universe, or something that you can take anywhere, we think consumers see great value in something they can take anywhere," Graves said.

Imeem is, on the other hand, still much smaller than MySpace, with 28 million users as opposed to well over 100 million. But it's growing fast, Graves added: a year ago it was at only 10 million users.