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Summary:

CBS spent $280 million in cash to acquire Last.fm, which claims 15 million-plus active users in more than 200 countries. The potential isn’t…

CBS spent $280 million in cash to acquire Last.fm, which claims 15 million-plus active users in more than 200 countries. The potential isn’t limited to radio; this is more about community and technology, in some respects, than music. From the release: “The Last.fm management team will work with all relevant CBS divisions to apply their community-building and technology expertise to extend CBS businesses online and within the mobile space.” Last.FM already is working on a video channel.

Last.fm raised its first round of funding — an undisclosed amount — last May from Index Ventures, the same firm that backed Skype and has invested in Joost. (CBS also invested in Joost and the two companies are both backing Spot Runner.) Angel investors included Joi Ito, Reid Hoffman, and Stefan Glaenzer.

Co-founder Richard Jones wrote in the company blog that the team was considering raising additional funding when CBS approached. Jones: “As you can imagine, we have been approached numerous times in the past few years from all the usual suspects regarding acquisitions and so on; CBS are one of the few companies who needed no explanation of what we are doing, and we were impressed at how progressive their plans are.”

CBS has made a lot of announcements lately about plans — Wallstrip, Joost investment, the audience network, spcial media. Next step: seeing some results.

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  1. Richard and his crew are a good fit with CBS. Quincy is building out a serious interactive portfolio with the support of Les. Last.fm will have a unique strategic advantage thanks to Dan Mason, CEO of CBS' radio division. As Richard noted, CBS gets it.

  2. dont you think every kid on last.fm will bail once they realize CBS bought it?

  3. that's a canard.

    with that line of thought, myspace should be a ghetto by now.

    youtube not far behind.

    is it that other large media companies just don't want to pay to play so they try this angle?

    if the place is good (and hopefully getting better with new owners) their parents could own the damn thing and the kids would still come around.

    get real.

  4. To answer your question, Steve, I will removing my account in a minute, my housemate has already done the same, and I've already fwd'd a few articles and posts, like this one, to my friends who will surely bail.

    CBS doesn't need to control anything else, and with their ties to the RIAA and the recording industry, I wouldn't want to use the service for fear of biased business practices and decisions. Not to mention the fact that the music industry is clinging to a ridiculous business model to I do not subscribe.

    We'll go back to sharing and learning about music in other ways, and let the people that National Amusements already controls stay on. To actually answer your question, no, every kid will not bail. The MTV (also National Amusement owned) watching, CBS supporting kids who don't know any better about media consolidation will continue to use last.fm. Of course CBS doesn't matter if a portion of the users leave, since it will be the portion that already don't support their other ventures and speak of their evils, and as such, aren't their target demographic anyway, since these people either shrink away from supporting conglomerates and/or aren't susceptible to their advertising techniques.

    I have been a staunch supporter and advocate of last.fm for over two years. That ends today with the funeral of yet another independently operated social networking site. I'll be using my final login to post a journal entry in every small last.fm community I'm currently a member, linking them to wikipedia pages for National Amusements and the RIAA, and letting people form their own opinion about the new ownership.

  5. michael…you're a man lacking reason…there are just as many pariahs in the "indie" landscape as there are in the fortune 500 media groups…traditionally they have lacked the same resource as the latter mentioned…that is rapidly changing with the emerging online landscape.

    is myspace a lesser service because it is owned by news corp? any of us who remember the early days of myspace (developed by euniverse founder, brad greenspan and current honcho chris dewolfe) know that the current version is much, much, better…do you suggest we all stop using myspace because of news corps involvement?

    I do have grave concerns about media conglomeration… we clearly need to be diligent in how our 'news' is fed to us…however, boycotting a music community service simply because cbs is the new owner seems the behavior of an adult in teenage clothing…this teen however, will continue to use this very cool service until it starts to suck.

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