Several key Last.fmers who have been with the social music site since its early days will follow their founders out the door in the next few weeks, as CBS (NYSE: CBS) continues to struggle with the integration of its $280 million acquisition.
— Head of music Jonas Woost (pictured), who has led content acquisition and relationships with record labels, artists, festivals and sponsors since late 2005, finishes on October 2 to spend a few months travelling in South America, before relocating to Vancouver.
— Systems architect Russ Garrett, who in 2004 co-authored the Audioscrobbler on which Last.fm’s recommendations depend and is now Last’s longest-serving member, leaves next week to head tech for betting site Smarkets.
paidContent:UK understands further exits may follow, too. But this is not a round of layoffs – they are personal decisions. And, of course, these members were early starters who benefited from Last.fm’s acquisition. Also, Last.fm does have vacancies for a lead developer, nine developer/engineer roles and ad sales personnel.
CBS bought Last.fm in May 2007 for what seemed like a hefty sum, but there was always likely to be a culture clash between the music site from London’s trendy Old Street and the broadcaster’s stuffier Manhattan execs. CBS has not been able to successfully exploit the site at home in the US and, whilst figures are private, it’s not thought to be especially profitable.
CBS laid off “around 20” of Last.fm’s 95 staff at the same time as Last.fm’s Christmas party last year. Then its three co-founders Martin Stiksel, Felix Miller and Richard Jones quit in June, saying little more than they needed a break. CBSi Music Group president David Goodman took charge from the US on an “interim” basis; he’s still there.
In its latest effort to utilise the site, CBS is now using Last.fm to power four of its US HD radio stations.
Garrett seems particularly disenchanted, though perhaps not specifically with CBS, blogging: “It