Last.fm for mobile will become subscription-only service

Last.fm announced today that its Radio service for mobile devices and home entertainment systems will transition from its current free, ad-based model to requiring users to pay a subscriber's fee with the addition of removing ads.

In a statement, Last.fm's Vice President, Matthew Hawn, said that the ad-based model is what helps support Last.fm Radio in the US, UK, and Germany, but ads on mobile devices and entertainment systems is just not practical for them to deliver a good listening experience. "You’ll see that this change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you to listen to music on mobile devices," Hawn stated, going on to say that the once-a-month fee will allow you to listen to Last.fm Radio on all of your devices and systems.

Last.fm Radio will still be available for free on their website and for their desktop application; the service will remain free for Xbox users with a LIVE subscription and Windows Phone 7 consumers in the United States and United Kingdon. Hawn stressed that other features from the site, like music and event recommendations, scrobbling, and their artist wikis will also remain free.

The service will begin rolling out on February 15th and cost $3 USD a month with a free trial period.

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39 Comments

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I got a mail today saying that even the PC needs a sub as from the 15th Feb, but I would be getting 3 months free due to being a user since beta days. So this is now going to be a no-go for me. Ill just use Pandora via my US VPN on my PC

Only use it to scrobble all my tracks from my desktop, but I have a Windows phone anyway so it doesn't really matter

I never really used the radio-feature but the scrobbling of whatever it's called to track my listening habits. Been a member since when it was still called Audioscrobbler...

So will there be like what - a basic membership without radio and a premium service for those $3/Month?

spikey_richie said,
Bit of a ripoff for us Brits. It's $3 in the US, yet £3 in the UK.

I thought you were able to choose your currency while subscribing? That's how it worked for me.

Marius F said,

just pay in $ and save £ 1

Which you'd then have to pay in overseas transaction charges (for most UK banks)

Now to see if the user base is there to keep it going as paid subscription service.
And if there competition stay on there ad supported models.

I install Pandora, Slacker, Last.fm, and iheartradio on my phone, in addition to the music on my phone, and Subsonic which lets me stream any song from my entire library off my home computer.

I'm a bit disappointed because the song selection was the best, but you will not be missed Last.fm.

Betaz said,
I install Pandora, Slacker, Last.fm, and iheartradio on my phone, in addition to the music on my phone, and Subsonic which lets me stream any song from my entire library off my home computer.

I'm a bit disappointed because the song selection was the best, but you will not be missed Last.fm.

Oh, and I just found TuneIn Radio as well, so now I really don't care about Last.fm anymore.

akav0id said,

Spotify is also subscription only for mobile devices

I'm assuming that Spotify is a better option for some people because it actually allows you to pick and choose the exact song you want.

Michael Collado said,
I'm assuming that Spotify is a better option for some people because it actually allows you to pick and choose the exact song you want.

Exactly my reason

I was kind of miffed when I read this, but I got over it pretty quickly after seeing several sites beset by commenters who are overwhelmed with outrage because copyrighted content won't be 100% free anymore.

It makes sense that the ads are pretty much a waste of time. You don't look at the last.fm app when you're playing last.fm radio. There would've been even more outrage had they gone hulu-style and started inserting commercials every few songs.

downhillrider said,
I wonder what behind the scenes (payments?) MS did to keep it free for us 360/WP7 users

Microsoft has been subsidizing the cost of last.fm since the launch of WP7. It's not sketchy so much as SOP ('launch partner' is a pretty common term, after all).

downhillrider said,
I wonder what behind the scenes (payments?) MS did to keep it free for us 360/WP7 users

ask Apple & Google to subsidize for iOS & Android users.

downhillrider said,
I wonder what behind the scenes (payments?) MS did to keep it free for us 360/WP7 users

Even if they did (which i'm assuming), I don't really see the problem?

neo158 said,
Well, on Xbox it's paid for by the subscription to Live Gold.

Also most subscribers would have a fit if it changed to a subscription only model for xbox.

shinji257 said,
Also most subscribers would have a fit if it changed to a subscription only model for xbox.

I certainly would, considering I'm an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.

neo158 said,

I certainly would, considering I'm an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.

In reality, what does that have to do with Last.FM? It's just like Netflix. You don't get that free with XBL subscription.

farmeunit said,
In reality, what does that have to do with Last.FM? It's just like Netflix. You don't get that free with XBL subscription.

Because, as a launch partner, Last.FM are subsidised by Microsoft for use on the 360 which is where the Live Gold Subscription comes in for unlimited usage, they even state this in the article:

the service will remain free for Xbox users with a LIVE subscription

"You'll see that this change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you to listen to music on mobile devices,"

Pandora and Slacker have free ad supported services in addition to a pay service on their respective mobile versions.