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Social music recommendation Last.fm is to add music videos to the site having struck partnerships with a number of independent labels and majors. The London-based startup recently secured deals with EMI and Warner to carry their music on members’ personalized on-site “radio” stations; the new features will allow users to watch similarly personalized video channels constructed from their musical profiles. Last.fm said initial videos would come from indie labels including Ninja Tune, Nettwerk, Domino, Warp, Atlantic and Mute, but partnerships with what is claimed to be over 20,000 independent labels will cause that volume to swell soon. Videos will play back-to-front without requiring page reloads.
The release screams Last.fm’s bold intention: “Last.fm will soon be able to offer its users personalized channels from the largest legal catalog of music videos on the web.” “Last.fm aims eventually to have every music video ever made on the site.” With 128kbps audio encoding, videos on the site will have double the audio quality of those on YouTube.
If it all sounds too good to be true, remember, too, that Last.fm has had little problem striking big-label deals, while rival Pandora has effectively pressed pause on its entire service outside of the US citing lack of label licensing partnerships. The new announcement seems to be largely based on those relationships Last.fm already had in place, which would represent a feat of dual-media licensing negotiation. The company said it was also in discussions with Universal and SonyBMG. Co-founder Martin Stiksel told Wired News he wanted to harness the long tail of music videos because music TV channels only tend to play the same 2,000 or fewer smash hit videos. An upload tool, allowing labels and artists to add their own video material, would be online by the week’s end, he said, adding there would be no video adverts.