IMVU, that clunky-looking avatar thing that are like Second Life without the credulous press coverage, is introducing streaming music and mp3 downloads to its world. Which you can pay for, with virtual money, which you can buy with real money:
In a call last week, IMVU CEO Cary Rosenzweig told me that the music store instantly became one of the site’s most popular features. He believes it’s the next step after what he calls Music 1.0, in which music is simply bought and downloaded off the Internet. This, he thinks, is part of the Music 2.0 era, where songs are enjoyed together, in a shared online experience, be it on social networks like MySpace, or in virtual worlds.
Imagine that - playing music in a social environment. Thank god computers will allow us to do that. If only we could do it in the real world.
In effect, though, this is just another mp3 store - albeit one where you get to turn yourself into a vaguely punky-looking woman in a short skirt before you buy the songs, and have to transfer your money you could spend anywhere into some sort of virtual truck ticket. It's clear that it might make IMVU a more interesting place to be for those already there; it's unlikely to attract anyone seeking an online music experience to IMVU on its own, though.