“And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust.”
Freddie Mercury of Queen may have summarized the current market perfectly. As we’ve previously reported, a number of high-profile Internet services have announced in recent weeks that they will be closing their doors following acquisitions by corporate parents. (Namely Picnik, TeachStreet and Summify).
Now, we can add another one to the list. iLike, a one-time superstar on the social music landscape, was just shut down by parent company MySpace.
MySpace bought iLike in 2009 for a reported purchase price of $20 million. At the time, then MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta said that the deal would advance the social networking company’s “relentless pursuit of innovation and the need to create new distributed social experiences in music and beyond.”
This week’s closure marks the end of a long and winding road for iLike, a Seattle upstart which was led by the twin brothers of Ali and Hadi Partovi and backed with $17 million from the likes of Ticketmaster, former MTV CEO Bob Pittman and others. At one time, iLike’s free music streaming and social networking service boasted 55 million users. It was one of the most popular apps on Facebook, prior to the social networking platform’s meteoric rise.
But, as GigaOm notes, iLike’s revenue “never added up, and now it is joining Napster, Lala, Imeem and others in digital media heaven, proving once again that making money with music online is really, really hard.”
Nonetheless, a number of other music services continue to chug along, namely Rhapsody, Spotify and Pandora.
iLike actually started as GarageBand.com with a grand mission of democratizing the music business, a mission that I covered back in 2006 at the P-I when the idea was just taking root.
“A lot of listeners are dissatisfied with the idea of a music industry that forces new music down your throat so to speak,” Ali Partovi told me at the time. “With the Internet, for the first time, there is a chance for the listener to have a say in what music is going to be discovered and promoted.”