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RAIN 10/22: Licensing behind Last.fm's decision to ax 3 subscriber-only radio streams

Posted on: 10/22/2010

WILL OFFER REFUND TO SUBSCRIBERS

Last.fm has announced that it will soon shutter certain streaming radio options for subscribers. Radio streams built around Loved Tracks, Playlists and Personal Tags will not be available starting November 17. Last.fm attributes the cuts to royalty issues, writing that “licensing music is a complex and labour intensive process. By discontinuing a few stations, we’re able to focus our energy on improving our most popular features.”

Loved Tracks Radio is a customizable stream of songs listeners marked as favorites, while Playlists radio pulls from tracks listeners used for playlists. Personal Tag Radio is populated by artists, albums or tracks users “tagged.” All are only available for users who pay a $3 per month subscription fee.

Last.fm has offered subscribers a refund if they are upset with the changes. On a brighter note, the service states (here) that “we’ll be announcing new features and even better ways for you to enjoy listening to Last.fm very soon, including a brand new station that we know you’ll love.”

While Last.fm doesn’t go into details, it’s likely that these soon-to-be-cut radio streams pulled from a small library of tracks for each individual user. The number of tracks “loved” by the average listener, for example, is far smaller than the library of tracks for an artist-based radio stream — even to the point where a Loved Tracks Radio stream could be as close to an on-demand affair as interactive web radio gets. That probably led to increased royalty pressures and thus, these streams got the ax. — MS

AOL RADIO UPGRADES iPHONE APP WITH MULTITASKING, SONG SKIPS AND MORE

Earlier this week AOL Radio issued a major update for its free iPhone app. The upgraded app includes multitasking abilities — allowing users to listen to streams in the background — and up to 6 song skips per hour. Previously AOL Radio streams were non-interactive on the iPhone.

AOL Radio has also added social networking interaction and improved graphics for the iPhone 4’s “Retina Display.” The application streams more than 350 AOL and CBS Radio stations. Find out more from AOL Radio’s blog post here.

CROWD-SOURCING SERVICE LDR SIGNS UP NEW YORK’S Q104.3

Q104.3 (WAXQ/New York) is the new affiliate of Listener Driven Radio‘s crowd-sourcing service. Listeners can now decide part of Q104.3’s “Two-fer-Tuesday” programming through online voting. The station programmers choose the first track, listeners vote on the second.

“The unique aspect of LDR software is its adaptability and flexibility for each affiliate to do what they want,” said LDR president Daniel Anstandig. “Q104.3 has chosen a new and exciting way to use LDR.”



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