This post was written by Ben Homer, a prospective NewTeeVee contributor.
After spilling some of its its plans last month to expand into online video, UK-based music site Last.fm said today it would roll out its video recommendation feature later this week (via emailed press release). The company, which has deals with major labels EMI & Warner, has the lofty goal of eventually offering every music video ever created.
Initial video will come primarily from independent labels, but these will include popular artists such as Arctic Monkeys and Moby. Audio on music videos will be encoded at a near CD-quality bitrate of 128k (the bitrate currently used by iTunes).
The strength of Last.fm — like competitor MOG, which already has a feature plugging into music videos on YouTube — lies in its recommendation system and social networking features that connects users to each other and to new music. As opposed to MTV and VH1 Classic, which set playlist categories such as “70s” and employ a more traditional online format, Last.fm will build on its existing system to allow users to recommend videos and create custom playlists.
Last.fm, which has more than 20 million active users, has been rumored as a buyout target. Whether or not the company stays independent, with internet radio royalty fees on the rise, companies like Last.fm that offer a free service, legally streaming licensed music to a large user base, will need to begin monetizing these users to keep from bleeding cash.
People have dubbed Last.fm the MTV of web 2.0. This step brings it a lot closer.