All entries for Wednesday 23 January 2008

January 23, 2008

Blast from The Last.fm

Blast from the Last.fm

Last FM

Could this be "the one" which finally cracks pirate downloading, gives audiences what they want, makes money for the provider and manages to pay the musicians as well?

Sound too good to be true well it might be but the news released by Last.fm today promises to be the first of several large companies coming to market with similar promises. what is the secret formula, there isn't one I'm afraid it is merely yet more advertising being driven onto the web. In this sense much of the web is going to driven by the advertising monster. The underlying question is rapidly becoming what is the future of Public Service Broadcasting / multicasting in this dawning age of user generated content and 'free' lots of media goodies primarily driven by advertising.  

Last.fm

Richard Jones, one of Last fm's three founders, told the BBC:

The way people consume music is changing - sometimes you just want to listen to it there and then.

Jones made this comment after it was revealed that rather than being able to download the music onto their computers consumers would be able to listen to the same track up to threee times thereafter they would be encouraged to pay for ti via iTunes or a similar servicve. Of course whether this change in useage away from an ownership model albeit usually 'illegal' will happen is yet to be proved.  However as well as avoiding the risk of being busted consumers face get all sorts of junk onto their computers through file sharing and viruses can abound on sites like Limewire. Free music paid for with banner adverts on the Las.fm site seems like a small price to pay instead of having your computer messed up and your data hacked.

Now I'm no expert on Limewire I'm just going on what my highly experienced students say however a quick Google turned up this scary video on YouTube. Limewire seems to be a sort of 'Hacking Into People's Private Data for Dummies'. In other words you are advised not to bother with it. (It could of course be a conspiracy by the record companies - well you pays yer money [or not] and yer makes yer choice!!). Anyway take a look:

Who are Last.fm? 

Last.fm, founded in London in 2002, was bought by the American media giant CBS last year for $280m (£143m).

Social music site Last.fm has been bought by US media giant CBS Corporation for $280m (£140m), the largest-ever UK Web 2.0 acquisition. (Original BBC Story from 2007.There is a video available on this link as well.)

Mr Stiksel one of the foundusic downloading on phones ing members of Last FM and part of the management team which is being left largely untouched by CBS announced an extraordinarily ambitious plan unprecedented in its aims:

This move will really support us to get every track ever recorded and every music video ever made onto Last.fm.

As an institution CBS radio is the largest radio group in the United States, with 179 stations in the top 50 markets covering news, rock, country and urban music.

Who are the Competition?

Mobile Music Japan

Mobile Music Downloads in the phone subscription the way forward?

Well seemingly the lions are coming out of their dens and the big players are entering into the market. Music downloading on phones is becoming increasing increasingly popular. whilst CD sales losses are increasing and not being replaced by legal downloading Japan is proving the exception which change the ruiles. Digital music sales in Japan are sufficient to offset the loss made by CDs. In fact, Japan saw a 1% rise in music sales last year. Industry observers attribute this rise to mobile music downloads:

"When you look at advanced markets like Japan, most digital music is already being consumed via mobile phones," said Rob Wells, senior vice president of digital music at Universal.

According to the BBC Nokia is currently planning a subscription service which allows users to keep the music they have purchased after the subscription has expired. So far they only have a confirmed content deal with Universal Music but say they are in discussions with the other major record labels.

Where Is it All Going  

Certainly at the moment it isn't clear what the dominant model of music will be but from the perspective of the audience we are moving ever closer to a massive amount of legal or very cheap music for nothing.  


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