March 24. Last.fm Radio Announcement
Today we’re announcing an upcoming change to the way Last.fm Radio works in some parts of the world. In the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, nothing will change.
In all other countries, listening to Last.fm Radio will soon require a subscription of €3.00 per month. There will be a 30 track free trial, and we hope this will convince people to subscribe and keep listening to the radio. Everything else on Last.fm (scrobbling, recommendations, charts, biographies, events, videos etc.) will remain free in all countries, like it is now.
Since we streamed our first track from Last.fm back in 2002, we have focused on playing the right songs to the right people, compensating artists for playing their music, and being the best music site on the web. We appreciate the support we get from the 30 million people who use Last.fm every month—double the number of people since this time last year. We work with over 280,000 labels and artists, many of whom we pay directly, and have built up the largest catalogue of any web radio platform: over 7 million tracks are available on Last.fm Radio stations.
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.
We created this group so we can spread the word primarily. Help us find alternatives, let last.fm know we want them to review their decision. For us to succeed, we truly need your support:
- Share this group with your friends. http://www.last.fm/group/Bring+back+the+free+last.fm
- If you want to use the group avatar here it is http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/126/25956333.png
- Shout! Let them know you care!
Update: March 26. The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs
"As you may have seen on our blog, we're making some changes to the way we structure our radio services.
Last.fm has never had a public radio API, although we've tolerated third-party clients using the undocumented calls that our client uses. This is finally about to change - we're going to make a public, documented streaming API available to everyone who has an API account. There are a few limitations:
Only subscribers will be allowed to stream using API applications unless you negotiate a separate deal with us - we need to get the money to cover royalties. You won't be allowed to use our API to stream to mobile phones. This is unfortunately a limitation of some of our licensing agreements. Again, we may be able to make an exception to this if you talk to us directly.
These changes should be made by the end of next week. Alongside this, we'll be shutting down the remainder of the old, undocumented streaming APIs over the next couple of weeks."
From the Web Services forum:
Q:"How will this affect users of 3rd party players such as Shell.fm and Amarok?"
Staff response: "Most third-party players are currently based on the unsupported old API, which they have reverse-engineered. They will need to be updated to support the new API, as the old one will go away soon. You will need to be a subscriber to listen to radio on any third-party client (this is the major change). We pay the artists for every track we stream, so we need a way to get this money."
Second Update: March 26. Last.fm Radio Announcement e-mail
Finally, I received an official notification.
You're getting this email because you have been using Last.fm Radio.
Today we're announcing an important upcoming change: Last.fm Radio will require a small subscription of €3.00 /month. You'll receive a 30 track free trial to try before you buy.
All other Last.fm features will remain free.
Why, you're probably asking? Read on about the change here:
We hope you'll continue to support our service,
- The Last.fm Team
Third update: March 30. Radio Announcement Revisited
Since our announcement last Tuesday about starting to charge users €3.00 per month for listening to the radio in countries other than the USA, UK and Germany, we’ve received a lot of feedback. It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly, and I want to explain why we came to this conclusion and answer some common questions.
Last.fm Radio has always been ad supported, which means we sell ads on the site to cover the cost of running the service and paying the music licensing fees. If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on the site you’ll know that the Last.fm community is international to the extreme – we are made up of people from practically every country in the world. Last.fm is a better place for it. However, we simply can’t be in every country where our radio service is available selling the ads we need to support the service. The Internet is global, and geographic restrictions seem unfair, but it’s a reality we are faced with every day when managing our music licensing partnerships.
We’re listening and we’ve postponed the date on which radio will become a subscription service outside the USA, UK and Germany. In the meantime we’ll be squeezing in some additional improvements based on your requests:
-Gift subscriptions: you’ll be able to buy a subscription for a friend
-Updating developers using our Radio API: third-party apps that stream Last.fm Radio will have full access to the Radio API, so streaming will work provided the user that logs in is a subscriber. (All other APIs remain free/unchanged)
-Investigating alternative payment options. If Paypal sucks in your country, or you don’t have a credit card, don’t despair. Based on feedback so far, we are looking at supporting pay-by-SMS, and possibly some other options. Can’t promise we’ll have support for everyone’s favourite payment system from day one, but we’ll do our best to make it easy for you.
As soon as we’ve completed the upgrades noted above, we’ll move ahead with the transition. Thereafter, radio in the USA, UK and Germany will remain ad-supported, and radio in other countries where it’s not feasible to have an ad-supported service will be moving to a subscription service.
Fourth update: April 22. Radio Subscriptions
Today we are making the changes to the radio that were previously announced here.
This means that from today, listeners to Last.fm Radio outside of the USA, UK and Germany will be asked to subscribe for €3.00 per month, after a 30 track free trial period. In the USA, UK and Germany, where it’s feasible to run an ad-supported radio service, there won’t be any changes. Everything else on Last.fm (scrobbling, recommendations, charts, biographies, events, videos etc.) will remain free in all countries, like it is now.
Currently you need a credit card (or debit card in many countries) or a Paypal account to subscribe. Due to popular demand the subscribe page now lets you buy subscriptions for a friend, so if you don’t have a suitable credit/debit card maybe a friend will buy you a subscription.
Note: This is a moderated group. Its main goal is to provide information. All points of view are welcome as long as you don't insult anybody. If for some other reason we decide to delete a shout we contact the author explaining the motive.
We try to keep the conversation on topic as much as possible. We have many journal submissions, but the only journals we accept are the ones that refer to this particular situation.
Update (2009.10.29): We have opened our shoutbox to all last.fm users (not just members of this group) so they can express their views on the situation. If you want to post links to free music use the forum; we have one thread for sharing alternatives to last.fm and another one for artists willing to share their music for free. Feel free to suggest more changes, we read all messages.
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