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RAIN 2/7: Last.fm kills its free radio streams on mobile, home media devices

Posted on: 02/07/2011

LAST.FM: “NOT PRACTICALFOR US TO CONTINUE AD-SUPPORTED MOBILE STREAMS

Last.fm has announced that starting February 15, only subscribers will be able to use the company’s streaming radio service on mobile and home entertainment devices. Last.fm’s radio feature will still be available on desktop computers and — interestingly — Xbox and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Last.fm VP Matthew Hawn writes on the company’s blog (here) that “it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience” on mobile and home entertainment devices. “Instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world.”

Previously, Last.fm’s customizable radio service was available for free on apps for Android, iPhone and other devices. Last.fm’s subscription service costs $3 per month (more here).

Late in 2010 Last.fm axed three subscriber-only radio options due to licensing issues (RAIN coverage here). Reports then surfaced that Last.fm lost £2.84 million in 2009 (more here).

Last.fm is owned by CBS. It’s not clear what Last.fm’s radio audience is, as Ando Media’s Webcast Metrics do not list Last.fm as being a part of CBS Radio’s ratings (though AOL Radio and Yahoo Launchcast are). It’s also interesting that Last.fm’s radio service will remain free on Microsoft platforms — perhaps because without Last.fm, Windows Phone 7’s customizable radio options would be rather stark (for example, industry leader Pandora is not available). — MS

BBCPODCAST TUNERMIMICS RADIO RECEIVERS OF YORE

The BBC World Service Future Media team, taking part in a “hack the homepage” day, produced a vintage-looking tuner used to listen to podcasts. The tuner drops you right into the middle of a podcast — simulating the experience of jumping into a program on AM/FM — but you can start from the beginning by hitting your space bar.

“Content discovery sometimes isn’t about dropping people into a big search box,” writes radio expert James Cridland (here), “but giving people a bit of ‘pot luck’ to see if they’ll like it.” You can try the “podcast tuner” here (Chrome required).

ARS TECHNICA DISCUSSES FUTURE OF IN-CAR WEB CONNECTIVITY

Webcasters have a serious stake in how in-car Internet access will play out in the coming years. A smartphone is required for current systems (more here), but the next step may be built-in 4G receivers.

That’s according to Kaveh Hushyar, a former senior VP at AT&T and current CEO of Telemetria. But 4G is only the first step towards a future where cars drive themselves, says Hushyar. Read more from Ars Technica here.

SIRIUS XM DEBUTS NEW WEB PLAYER

Tech blog Crunchgear reports that Sirius XM has launched a new Flash-based web player at SiriusXM.com. The blog also notes that XM Radio’s website now redirects to SiriusXM.com as well. “The last vestiges of XM Radio (and Sirius) are no more, and we are now living in a decidedly Sirius XM world,” Crunchgear writes (here).

CAMBRIDGE AUDIO RECEIVER STREAMS NET RADIO, BOASTS iPHONE APP

The NP30 from Cambridge Audio reportedly streams over 20,000 Internet radio stations, including Last.fm, Pandora, Rhapsody, BBC iPlayer and Sirius XM. Plus, the company offers an iPhone app to control playback on the device. The NP30 also plays music on your home network. Find out more here.



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