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iMesh claims it’s going to move all users to a paid p2p model — sort of.   $.99 per song or $6.95 a month to access a couple of million music files.   But apparently you can continue to use iMesh to download another 15 million songs because “copyright holders have not asked iMesh to block them.”  Phil Leigh told me that “the 15 million tracks that are free is composed of stuff that is not very popular or stuff that is not available in the legitimate online catalogs yet.”

San Jose Mercury News reports:

The service offers access to 17 million music files. About 15 million will be available for free because copyright holders have not asked iMesh to block them.

Another two million protected releases will be sold for 99 cents per song or a $6.95 monthly fee. The company will pay record labels a portion of the revenue for each song downloaded or shared.

According to digital analyst Phil Leigh:

The new iMesh will seek to migrate its users up to a new version of the software. Initially, users will merely be prompted that a new version is available. But ultimately, they will be told that if they do not upgrade from version 5.0 (which accounts for the vast majority of legacy iMesh users) then their iMesh program will no longer function as they are accustomed to. Bottom line is that without the new version of iMesh software, the version 5.0 users will no longer be able to trade files. …iMesh management believes that by gradually migrating its users to the new version, that they will be able to get “double-digits percentages” of them to pay for content.

“Double-digit percentages” of conversion?  So at least 10% of iMesh users will opt to pay for some type of download?  I’ll be curious to see how this pans out.

Phil Leigh has an interview with iMesh president Talmon Marco, here.

Alex Eckelberry