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CBS is acquiring Last.fm for $280 million, ending months of speculation as to the likely buyer of the UK-based social music recommendation engine.
“Last.fm is one of the most well-established, fastest-growing online community networks out there,” CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is cited as saying in a statement LA Times said it obtained ahead of an official announcement Wednesday. “Their demographics also play perfectly to CBS’ goal to attract younger viewers and listeners.” LA Times, speaking to an unnamed CBS exec, claims on-site advertising will be beefed up, with a new array of music channels paid for by sponsors.
Last-fm co-founder Martin Stiksel confirmed the deal to BBC News: “This move will really support us to get every track ever recorded and every music video ever made onto Last.fm. With a strong partner like CBS, this is now within our reach. They want to move from a content company to an audience company, giving the audiences control and learning from this and that’s why Last.fm was their choice.” Stiksel said Last.fm would continue to operate independently, adding being based in London was best for a music-related company.
Last.fm has successfully negotiated deals to use music from EMI, Warner Music Group and a range of indies and, seemingly staking itself out as an online competitor to former CBS stablemate MTV, recently announced plans to let users create a recommendations-based video channel (an earlier rumor held that MTV owner Viacom would buy Last.fm for $450 million). Claiming Universal and SonyBMG are soon to come aboard, the site would be permitted to run tracks from all the majors. CBS would conceivably be able to marry many of Last.fm’s features with its radio network.