Maybe I should get a new console and go back to my console gaming habits. I’m really dying to know how could a video console fare up as a social networking device. I mean, a couple of days ago Sony announced that the Playstation 3 now supports Facebook updates. Â For me that was awesome, and now here comes this report saying that more users or gamers if I may say so are doing their social networking chores on Xbox Live. What the?
Is it just me or are you aware that at least 2 million Xbox Live users have used their console to log-in to Facebook , while half of them used it to create a Last.fm account? Â In addition, Â the number of gamers who are using the Xbox Live to tweet are also increasing.
In a guest post for Techcrunch the founder of MP3.com and MP3Tunes, Michael Robertson, declares the actual online music streaming climate death.
The music selling and radio business is increasingly being commoditized. Profits are being squeezed to the point of unsustainability. This spells pending doom for imeem, Pandora, Myspace Music, Slacker and the newest entrant Spotify unless there is an industry-upheaving royalty rate change.
After analyzing both the massively hyped Spotify and the under Best Buy rebooted Napster he mentions that most similar sites, such as Pandora and MySpace Music, so far have failed in making a paid subscription model a viable solution. Music streaming services world wide are living a hard time and UK-based, but CBS owned Last.fm also switched to a compulsory subscription for users outside of the US, UK and Germany because so far they have failed to monetize ads sufficiently in other pats of world.
These may seem dire times, but unless streaming platforms can become more global, it seems that they will struggle to sell ANY real advertising at all and if, the question is will it be sufficient to pay royalties and the rather high wages developers benefit in startups.
Read the complete TC entry here.
In a statement released today on the Last.fm blog 3 of the founders of the London (UK) based music discovery and recommendation service are leaving the CBSi Music company. According to the blog entry this is the latest (last?) step in handing over the reins to CBSi Media, who acquired Last.fm in Spring 2007 for $280million.
From the announcement:
After two years running Last.fm within CBS we feel the time is right to begin the process of handing over the reins. This is the latest stage in a long journey for us founders, which began in a living room in East London in 2002, and took us to the headquarters of one of the biggest media companies in the world.
Felix Miller also announced that the service more than doubled in number of unique monthly users over the last 12 months (Compete stats for last.fm top-url show an increase above 50% over the last 12 months).
Read the complete announcement here
mSpot, Inc. announced a deal with CBS RADIO and Last.fm that will add over 100 live local radio stations across the U.S. and the Last.fm personalized radio service to mSpotâ€™s expansive mobile radio line-up. The new offering gives AT&T Wireless customers access to one of the most customized listening and entertainment experience in the market, combining the best of personalized radio; local music, sports, news and talk radio stations; and commercial-free music choices.
As a premiere mobile music and entertainment company, mSpot services over 4 million mobile users in North America. Among the stations licensed by CBS RADIO are KROQ-FM (Los Angeles, Calif.), WFAN-AM (New York, N.Y.), and WXRT-FM (Chicago, Ill.). Through Last.fm, users will be able to listen to recommended music, create their own stations, and access artist bios. mSpotâ€™s radio applications allow customers to browse content, skip through songs on select stations, access recently-played stations, and bookmark favorite stations.
mSpotâ€™s radio network currently spans across AT&T, Sprint, Bell Mobility, Telus, and U.S. Cellular. In total, mSpot has over 100 commercial-free music channels, over 200 local stations, and over 30 stations of talk content from popular media firms including ABC, Fox Sports, NPR, Disney, SportingNews, MarketWatch, PRI, AccuWeather and Traffic.com.
Last.fm has launched on the Android platform, offering an ‘on-the-go’ music application enabling users to access all the best of Last.fm from their mobile phones.
Features include similar artists and genre-specific streaming radio stations, personalized streaming radio, up-to-date concert information and the ability to track users’ listening habits to their Last.fm profile. The launch of Last.fm on Android marks the latest step in Last.fm’s expansion into the mobile music space.
Using the Last.fm application, users can listen to streaming radio stations such as personal recommendations, similar artists, and genre-specific tracks. Users can also share tracks with their friends on Last.fm and stream other users’ stations. The new ‘Background Playback’ feature enables users to listen to Last.fm’s streaming music while accessing other programs, such as email, without interrupting the music experience.
Last.fm users can view an on-the-go version of their personal music profiles that includes mobile versions of Last.fm Charts page and Artist pages, with biographies, tags, similar artists and top listeners, all optimized for the Android platform. Users can access Last.fm’s Events listings to browse artists on tour, search for events, view Last.fm recommendations and view mapped directions to music venues.
Last.fmannounced a new initiative called “Last.fm in a Box” with its key partners.
“Last.fm in a Box” allows partners to offer their users free access to Last.fmâ€™s industry-defining and world-leading personalized streaming radio services direct from the partners web site.
The service is dubbed “Last.fm in a Box” because itâ€™s a complete “soundtrack for the Web” experience for usersâ€”featuring millions of tracks from Last.fmâ€™s unparalleled music catalogue. Based on the open platform of Last.fm, partner sites can adopt “Last.fm in a Box” simply, easily and quickly. The service will be ad-supported allowing brands and sponsors the opportunity to reach millions of highly engaged music fans across the Web beyond the Last.fm site.
“Last.fm In a Box” will be made available to multiple online platforms, including Bebo, Billboard.com, Break Media, CBS Television Stations, CBS Affiliates, eMusic, Frengo, Gigya, iGoogle, Live Nation, Meebo, MP3.com, Netvibes, Ning, Pageflakes, Photobucket, Piczo, Six Apart, Stardoll, WAYN.com and WordPress.com.
Last.fm announced that Portishead’s long-awaited new album, Third, will be made exclusively available on the site, in its entirety, for free from April 21, a week before its official release.
Third is the Bristol band’s first studio album in 11 years, and each of its 11 tracks will be made available for free, full-length, on-demand streaming on Last.fm for 7 days leading up the official release on April 28.
This is the first time that Last.fm, which offers free access to the largest licensed catalogue of music on the Web, has collaborated with an individual artist to exclusively premier an album before its official release. All of Portishead’s previous albums are also available to stream in full.
Last.fm is sponsoring a new music category in Mozillaâ€™s Extend Firefox 3 contest. As part of the contest, which encourages web developers to create innovative extensions or add-ons for the forthcoming major update to the Firefox Web browser, Last.fm will be judging entries and will award the best music-related extension entry.
The winner will be flown to the Last.fm office in London to meet the team behind the worldâ€™s fastest-growing free music website; will attend a Last.fm/Presents live event as a guest of Last.fm; and will also receive a Logitech Squeezebox network music player.
Last.fm is one of the major resources developers have at their disposal when building music applications and add-ons. The site offers a wealth of music-related assets â€“ music streams, listening charts, artist information â€“ and an established free and open API and webservice framework to build from. .
Last.fm launched a new section called â€œBuild.last.fmâ€, a gallery promoting the growing number of Last.fm third-party applications that extend the Last.fm experience across the web.
Built by fans and partners of the social music discovery network, â€œBuild.last.fmâ€ organizes and showcases the many Last.fm applications and widgets tÅ“hat have been developed using the site’s open platform architecture and free webservice tools, which have been available since 2003.
Last.fm estimates that activity around third-party applications on other websites added 19 million music fans to its user base in January, in addition to the 21 million active users engaging with the Last.fm site itself.
Last.fm realized strong user growth in several key categories after launching it’s free-on-demand streaming service recently. In the United States, Last.fm’s unique listeners increased 85% on the day of launch (Jan. 23) versus the previous Wednesday (Jan. 16). Listening metrics are considered especially relevant as a method to measure a user’s engagement with the site. In addition, the site realized a 45% increase in page views and 27% increase in unique visitors in the U.S. during the same time period.
The site’s momentum continued yesterday as unique listeners increased 80% as compared to the previous Thursday. Page views and unique visitors also increased 60% and 31% respectively during the same time period.
In launching the free-on-demand service earlier this week, Last.fm became the first music web site to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music built on partnerships with all four major record labels – including Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI – as well as CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists. Free-on-demand listening is available without registration, or the download of any software.
(Editor’s note: What we should observe is how Last.fm can sustain this and not just a one time growth as expected on new services being launched.)