The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

 
    • rampok said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 14:25

    sorry to say

    you know, i was pretty much okay to pay for my subscription (Im from Indonesia btw) but now .. im really going to leave LastFM. Best of luck kicking out your community for dimes. Not that i don't understand that you guys need money or anything, but i see that you're monetizing using the wrong plan.

    Well anyway ... so long last.fm

  • Russ said:
    I'm working with third-party mobile client authors at the moment, and I'm fairly confident that we can allow them to use the new API in mobile mode for subscribers. No promises yet, though.


    Whilst it's good that you're trying to do something to remedy this problem... what about those who only use their mobile app to scrobble?

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who uses doesnt care about subscriptions and streaming etc?

    • acid06 said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 15:20
    This is actually worse than the original announcement because not only you're restricting international users, you're also crippling the service for everyone else.

    Using Mobbler is awesome. Being an international user and not being able to use it anymore will *definitely* kill last.fm for me.

    • Russ said...
    • Alumni
    • 25 Mar 2009, 15:29
    citizenlee said:
    Whilst it's good that you're trying to do something to remedy this problem... what about those who only use their mobile app to scrobble?

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who uses doesnt care about subscriptions and streaming etc?


    This announcement doesn't affect scrobbling - scrobbling will always be free.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 15:46

    Exemplary

    This exemplifies the reason why, even though Last.fm in many ways is an ideal service for me, I've never actually paid for a subscription. I've wanted to many times, especially when the site was young, but there's always been limitations/decisions like this that has told me to wait & see first. So I've been waiting, since 2003.

    The promise of how Last.fm, and its software, would work has *always* been far bigger than what was delivered. It's like the ultimate record-junkie's cocktease.

    Edited by a deleted user on 25 Mar 2009, 15:53
  • Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    Russ said:
    The N810 doesn't connect to a cellular data network, so it's not a phone.

    So then what about the iPod Touch, which is non-cellular as well? Or any non-cellular device based on Linux, PalmOS, Windows Mobile or Symbian?

    While all of them will use WiFi, applications written for these devices could potentially be used on their cellular data cousins as well. While last.fm's 128 kbps streams can't be played over GPRS/EDGE, 3G is a different story.

    How would this be addressed?

  • What a shame. I was actually thinking of buying a subscription, but not now. I'll probably keep using the free service until something better comes along ... although it'll probably be illegal.

    • Russ said...
    • Alumni
    • 25 Mar 2009, 15:59

    Re: Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    achitnis said:
    So then what about the iPod Touch, which is non-cellular as well? Or any non-cellular device based on Linux, PalmOS, Windows Mobile or Symbian?

    While all of them will use WiFi, applications written for these devices could potentially be used on their cellular data cousins as well. While last.fm's 128 kbps streams can't be played over GPRS/EDGE, 3G is a different story.

    How would this be addressed?


    We will make a judgement call on it - our obligations aren't more specific than that.

    • Zenbug said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 16:03
    Just adding my voice to the list of disgruntled users.

  • N800

    I only listen on my N800. If I can't listen on that, I don't want to use Last.fm at all.

  • iphone and laptop through 3g

    Waiting to understand what really changes for iphone users and laptops connected through 3G.

    If those are to be blocked, then ill be leaving last.fm for good.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 16:15

    Re: Re: Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    Russ said:
    achitnis said:
    So then what about the iPod Touch, which is non-cellular as well? Or any non-cellular device based on Linux, PalmOS, Windows Mobile or Symbian?

    While all of them will use WiFi, applications written for these devices could potentially be used on their cellular data cousins as well. While last.fm's 128 kbps streams can't be played over GPRS/EDGE, 3G is a different story.

    How would this be addressed?


    We will make a judgement call on it - our obligations aren't more specific than that.


    Meaning, we're going to let the iPhone and iPod Touch stream, but nothing else.

    • macdis said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 16:24
    Given the choice between standing up and being counted, or lying prostrate and grovelling, the latter is certainly the move of choice these days, isn't it?

    • kabniel said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 16:38
    As a user of a 3rd party player, I am a little confused here..
    I dont know how the API accounts work or if every developer of a 3rd party player already need to have one, but here are my questions.

    How will this affect users of 3rd party players such as Shell.fm and Amarok?

    Do we have to be subscribers (no matter what country we are in) to be able to stream radio through these players, and will these players still be able to stream radio at all after these changes?

  • people please remember this is a business first and foremost. With that having been said, Last FM's investors and suits best remember its the users who put them on the map in the first place and find a middle ground acceptable to both sides. Users remember nothing in life is free, and Last FM remember the power of open source can bring in revenue tenfold.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 17:04

    Re: Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    achitnis said:
    Russ said:
    The N810 doesn't connect to a cellular data network, so it's not a phone.

    While all of them will use WiFi, applications written for these devices could potentially be used on their cellular data cousins as well.


    Hah, true. I tether my N810 to my cell's data plan via Bluetooth all the time.

    This issue is the equivalent of Hulu having blocked Boxee because the networks say you're not "supposed" to watch Hulu on a television set, only on a laptop/desktop.

    It ignores the fact that anyone can hook a computer to an TV and just use the browser on the television set as usual, because some exec assumed that the effort to do so is much higher than putting Boxee on an Apple TV.

    It also ignores that the type of user is almost exactly the same -- someone tooling around on a computing device and a TV (the Apple TV needs a lot of hacking to put Boxee on it) -- and after being blocked, they will either (a) take the "more-effort" workaround of just using a small computer, or (b) take the easier piracy workaround, all the while thinking worse of the brand and the networks.

    In other words: they don't get it.

    • Russ said...
    • Alumni
    • 25 Mar 2009, 17:07
    capiotti said:
    Waiting to understand what really changes for iphone users and laptops connected through 3G.

    If those are to be blocked, then ill be leaving last.fm for good.


    This does not change anything for iPhones or Laptops connected through 3G.

    marcevelyn said:
    Russ said:
    We will make a judgement call on it - our obligations aren't more specific than that.


    Meaning, we're going to let the iPhone and iPod Touch stream, but nothing else.


    Any mobile client developers will need to contact us to get radio API access, but I'm not aware of any reason why we wouldn't grant it. I am working to make sure that existing mobile clients like Mobbler will get grandfathered in.

    kabniel said:
    As a user of a 3rd party player, I am a little confused here..
    I dont know how the API accounts work or if every developer of a 3rd party player already need to have one, but here are my questions.

    How will this affect users of 3rd party players such as Shell.fm and Amarok?


    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.

    Do we have to be subscribers (no matter what country we are in) to be able to stream radio through these players, and will these players still be able to stream radio at all after these changes?

    Yes, 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.

  • Open Source Clients

    So do I understand this correctly, this means that there can be no open source clients, as theres no way an open source client can get an api key? Or is the plan that the key for using the api is attached to the subscriber's account?

    • Russ said...
    • Alumni
    • 25 Mar 2009, 17:14

    Re: Open Source Clients

    robtaylor78 said:
    So do I understand this correctly, this means that there can be no open source clients, as theres no way an open source client can get an api key? Or is the plan that the key for using the api is attached to the subscriber's account?


    No! Open source apps can apply for an API key at the moment, and that won't change. The last.fm client itself is open-source.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 17:18
    Ditto. I subscribed so I could listen to my loved tracks on Mobbler. Without that functionality, I've wasted my money.

    As I only subscribed last week, I demand a refund.

    • rodakk said...
    • User
    • 25 Mar 2009, 17:54
    Please, don't do this... Mobbler was the reason, why I registered to Last.fm... If you cut it's functionality, Last.fm will be useless for me :( Recently I even bought a data card and second phone to scrobble on the go.

  • Re: Re: Open Source Clients

    Russ said:
    No! Open source apps can apply for an API key at the moment, and that won't change. The last.fm client itself is open-source.


    Hmm, maybe I misunderstand the point of the API key then. Surely an open source product will have the API key in its source, and hence anyone could take that key and use it however they like... So, what's the use case of this key?

  • Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    Russ said:
    achitnis said:
    What defines a "mobile phone" in this case? What about, say, a Nokia N810, which is an Internet tablet/MID, NOT A PHONE. Would this be barred from using the API in an application such as Vagalume to stream music? What about dedicated internet radios? These are all "portable" devices that are not phones, but are certainly mobile.

    The N810 doesn't connect to a cellular data network, so it's not a phone.

    And, as an aside - what is the rationale for the "no mobile phones" rule?
    It's a restriction imposed by some of our music licensing partners, and not by us.


    So right now im moving and are waiting for my broadband to be installed, I use my mobile 3g tethered to both my laptop, my workstation and alone. I can not stream to my phone, but what about my laptop and workstation? ;) (in the rest of the world its 2009, and platforms are eroding rapidly)

    I know you did not make up those stupid rules by yourselves, and its kind of good to see the recording industry still making a stupid move like this in 2009. At least we know they are still alive(but still behind by almost a decade) ;) I guess they are trying to squeeze the mobile carriers for some hard cash. And offending their customers once more in the process. Its just sad Last.fm is in on this stupidity really, even if its not their fault in the first place.

    Right now i just hope spotify makes a windows mobile client soon...

  • @Russ

    So when you say, "You won't be allowed to use our API to stream to mobile phones" I now think you mean, "Third-party apps will have to re-code their interface to use our new API; you must be a subscriber to use the streaming features of a third-party app (regardless of geographical location); you can stream for free if you're using our own app if you're in the US, UK or Germany; and you won't be able to stream over a cellular data network except if you're using a 3G NIC connected to a computer". Is any of that even remotely correct?

    The information you've released today is very confusing. I suggest someone from Last.FM should write a clarification post that explains in simple terms exactly what's changing and how it affects different types of user. Otherwise you're going to find the Internet will eat you alive.

    http://www.richardskingdom.net/
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    • Russ said...
    • Alumni
    • 25 Mar 2009, 18:18

    Re: Re:Re: Re: The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs

    robtaylor78 said:
    Russ said:
    No! Open source apps can apply for an API key at the moment, and that won't change. The last.fm client itself is open-source.


    Hmm, maybe I misunderstand the point of the API key then. Surely an open source product will have the API key in its source, and hence anyone could take that key and use it however they like... So, what's the use case of this key?


    It just identifies the client to our API. We would recommend that open-source clients don't include this key in their source code, but it doesn't really matter. Applying for an API key is a simple process and anyone can do it. Many other sites have a similar process.

    M_Mickey said:
    So right now im moving and are waiting for my broadband to be installed, I use my mobile 3g tethered to both my laptop, my workstation and alone. I can not stream to my phone, but what about my laptop and workstation? ;) (in the rest of the world its 2009, and platforms are eroding rapidly)


    If it looks like a phone, and it sounds like a phone, it's a phone from our point of view. It's a silly restriction.

    zombie90 said:
    So when you say, "You won't be allowed to use our API to stream to mobile phones" I now think you mean, "Third-party apps will have to re-code their interface to use our new API; you must be a subscriber to use the streaming features of a third-party app (regardless of geographical location); you can stream for free if you're using our own app if you're in the US, UK or Germany; and you won't be able to stream over a cellular data network except if you're using a 3G NIC connected to a computer". Is any of that even remotely correct?


    Yes, that's pretty much it.

    The information you've released today is very confusing. I suggest someone from Last.FM should write a clarification post that explains in simple terms exactly what's changing and how it affects different types of user. Otherwise you're going to find the Internet will eat you alive.

    I think there are two things that need to be taken into account here. Firstly, this was a technical post for a technical audience in a technical forum. It seems to have been misconstrued a bit by the media.

    Secondly, existing streaming clients are using undocumented, unsupported APIs. We're finally making them officially supported, but people are still upset because we're taking things away from them.

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