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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 27, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    Last.fm to charge for Radio

    Ciara O'Brien

    Last.fm fans will be disappointed to hear that the site plans on making its streaming Last.fm radio service subscription only to listeners outside the UK, US and Germany. So that would include us then.

    The subscription amounts to a total of €3 per month, but in these desperate economic times, etc etc.

    Defending its decision on its blog, the service said:

    “In order to keep providing the best radio service on the web, we need to ask our listeners from countries other than USA, UK and Germany to subscribe for €3.00 per month. In return you’ll get unlimited access to Last.fm Radio, and a promise that we’ll be hard at work improving the service for years to come.”

    The comments on the Last.fm blog said it all. Ranging from the abusive (“F**k you”) to the obvious (“I’m a former subscriber, and soon i’ll be a former user”), there were more than 1,600 comments on the post before it was closed and users were asked to direct their questions, comments and, in some cases, vitriol to the feedback forum.

    The reason for excluding the three countries mentioned above? According to the blog, it’s an advertising thing.

    “These are the countries in which we have the most resources to support an ad sales organization, which is how we earn money to pay artists and labels for their music. We are focused on the US, UK, and Germany as key markets, with the help of the CBS Interactive salesforce and our own sales team here in London. Our headquarters are in the UK and we’ve always had a strong presence in DE.

    And so we’ve made the decision to focus on these markets for free streaming radio. We are still available worldwide and while listening is subscription, all the other rich content on the site is still free.”

    That may be so, but the reason most people go to Last.fm will be paid-for.

    Watch as most users forced to pay for the formerly free service drift away to rival services such as Spotify.

    • enid says:

      Why do people expect everything for free? This is a service – and it seems to me the subscription fee is extremely low.