iMesh is a peer-to-peer platform that has survived the legal harrow of the recording industry. The RIAA brought a copyright infringement case against them, which they settled out of court, and after which they changed their business model to be based on subscriptions within North America. Those of us lucky enough to live in Europe can still use the file sharing service without paying a $29.99 annual fee, and even the hapless Americans can use the iMesh ‘to go’ service, paying for tracks individually.
The music they offer up through their search is based on results from youtube, which streams quite smoothly in a little window on their GUI (the program window), and on the hard drives of the various iMesh users logged on at a given time (you all know how peer to peer works, right?). They have agreements with the RIAA (and thus the labels and artists listed with them) to pay royalties on streams and downloads, but they also have a vast amount of content that has not had copyright claimed. This doesn’t mean that copyright doesn’t exist in those tracks, just that the people the tracks belong to haven’t objected to their being used on iMesh’s service, which doesn’t seem particularly equitable if they don’t know its happening. RouteNote doesn’t currently do digital distribution to iMesh, but if you’re a user, you can put your own tracks in your iMesh folder to be shared. You won’t recieve any revenue thereby unless you’re registered with one of their partner mechanical copyright agencies like the RIAA or MCPS though.