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Summary:

Last.fm said yesterday that it will charge its non-U.S., UK and German visitors 3 euros (about $4) a month. Today the music discovery service says it’s also cutting off unofficial apps that are using Last.fm API, a move that has made many independent app writers pretty […]

lastfmlogoLast.fm said yesterday that it will charge its non-U.S., UK and German visitors 3 euros (about $4) a month. Today the music discovery service says it’s also cutting off unofficial apps that are using Last.fm API, a move that has made many independent app writers pretty angry. The latter seems like a move to appease the record labels, but taken together, it looks like Last.fm is trying to develop a post-advertising business model.

By killing access to unofficial APIs, the company will also be able to rein in its royalty payments. And it’s been widely documented how tough it is for web services to monetize well with advertising beyond the aforementioned three markets. With parent CBS facing the same dire straits as most media companies, Last.fm needs to develop new revenue sources — fast. I admire the Last.fm team for trying out these new monetization models. Many other social networking sites would be well-advised to look beyond low-CPM advertising to scale their revenues, too.

  1. I personally have no objections to them enforcing whats good for their business. What i have a problem with is enforcing regulations on the platform. Their latest post states that

    “# You won’t be allowed to use our API to stream to mobile phones. This is unfortunately a limitation of some of our licensing agreements. Again, we may be able to make an exception to this if you talk to us directly.”

    I think bending over backwards to appease the content creators, If i pay 3$ a month as an Indian user, why shouldnt i be able to use Last.fm on my mobile phone? Why bottle neck this down to “Talk to us?”, the independent developers get screwed. We dont have people to talk to their people!

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    1. There’s no point beating Last.FM over the head about the mobile phone thing. It’s not their decision, it’s the music industry – their content partners – who have imposed that rule. Clearly, the music industry has seen what a lot of us have seen coming for a while now – that distribution of music via mobile is going to be a much bigger game than CDs in the future, and they want to keep that market for themselves. How can one blame Last.FM for that?

      I actually appreciate the way Last.FM is clearly trying to balance things, including taking a call on exceptions, “grandfathering in” existing popular applications, etc. I’d say let’s give them a chance to prove themselves before condemning them.

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  2. I’m listening to Pandora.com on my iPhone over the 3G network right now. Love Pandora. I don’t really care what Last.FM does, expect that I feel bad for all the people who really enjoy it, but that’s what you get for free, never know when, terms will change, or it will go away.

    The idea that an advertising model just can’t work is nonsense. If you provide a great service and have enough traffic you will always be able to sell enough advertising. The reality is that some services aren’t that great, or weren’t well funded, or have too much overhead, or just can’t attract a volume of traffic (printed newspapers are finding this out now).

    So I’ll keep enjoying Pandora, until it changes too.

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    1. that’s nice for you. but pandora isn’t accessible to users outside the usa.

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  3. [...] Last.fm, a streaming online music service, will soon begin charging its members outside of the US, UK and Germany a monthly fee slated at around $4. The site’s current features include internet radio, videos and artist pages alongside social networking tools. Additionally, the company will no longer be allowing unofficial applications to access the Last.fm API. While we suspect that the content providers are behind this move, it also affords the site a way to better manage – and cash in – on the music being provided. [...]

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  4. well, i am in germany so i guess i colud use it.. but i dont use it anyway, so who cares:-) choose music for yourself

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