It’s a big change for one of the major players in online music streaming: Last.fm plans to stop offering its subscription-based radio streaming service, starting in late April.
The online music giant plans now plans to offer audio that’s been outsourced from YouTube, Spotify and VEVO. It’s a sign of the times in a changing music climate; Spotify has become the dominant force among online streaming services and smaller companies are struggling to keep up. With the change, Last.fm will no longer have to pay to host its own music servers and will save some cash. In the end, they’re dividing that part of their business up between YouTube, Spotify and VEVO. Last January, the company originally agreed to host Spotify as a source; it helped them avoid paying some of the hefty music licensing fees.
In a statement to Billboard, Last.fm Managing Director Simon Moran said this:
“Following the launch of the new Last.fm Player earlier this year and Last.fm’s partnership with Spotify for on-demand playback, we’ve revised the subscription service in order to focus on the new Last.fm Player and Last.fm’s over-arching mission: world-class music recommendations.”
Last.fm began in the U.K. in 2002, bringing to the table what was once quite an innovative concept. The company builds a profile of the user’s music by tracking what a person listens to through his or her computer, mobile devices and Last.fm itself. Last.fm uses that information to give the user suggestions about other artists and songs that seem similar to the person’s tastes. In 2007, CBS bought the company for $280 million.
According to Crave Online, Last.fm has 55 million total users, but won’t say exactly how many of them pay the $3 subscription fee for premium use. Officials from the company say that the subscription changes will only affect a very small number of Last.fm users, so the subscription base could be somewhat small.