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RAIN 6/9: CBS adds Last.fm personalized radio to Radio.com

Posted on: 06/09/2011


CBS Interactive’s Radio.com now offers users “one-click” access to custom artist-based Last.fm radio streams.

While the move has picked up a lot of attention today in trade publications, this is actually the service that Last.fm has offered for years and that CBS has owned since 2007. The only new development here is that CBS is streaming the service through the Radio.com interface.

Once users are already within Radio.com and listening to music (there’s oddly no sign of this new feature on the Radio.com landing page), a red button labeled “Create Station” leads users to a simple Pandora-like search box. There they can enter an artist and then listen to Last.fm’s customizable radio streams.

Radio.com also hosts CBS Radio’s online streams, as well as stations from Yahoo! and AOL Radio. The site launched in July 2010 (RAIN coverage here).

You can find CBS Interactive’s press release here.

RAIN ANALYSIS: This move is earning a lot of attention from the trades today. CBS has owned Last.fm and this personalized artist-based service since 2007. Radio.com is simply streaming these stations within its interface — we couldn’t find much innovative integration, such as offering to create a custom station based on what you’re currently listening to or your listening history. Additionally, the Last.fm functionality seems to be buried in the Radio.com site, requiring a few more clicks from us than CBS Interactive’s “one-click” offer suggests. — MS


Apple has reportedly backed off on its controversial app subscription policies.

Earlier this year, Apple announced it would offer in-app subscriptions but would take 30% of the revenue. Plus, it required that any service offering subscriptions had to offer the same subscription at the same price within its iPhone and iPad apps.

This appeared to mean that Pandora and other serivces wouldn’t get to decide if offering in-app subscriptions made fiscal sense — it was a requirement from Apple (RAIN coverage here).

Now Apple has backed off. Engadget reports (here) services will be able to offer subscriptions outside of their iOS apps and at different prices than subscriptions sold within the app. Apple still takes 30% of subscriptions sold within the app.


Jacobs Media yesterday conducted a webinar in which they revealed the findings of their Techsurvey 7 study of the technology and social media habits of rock radio listeners.

Smartphone ownership among respondents, Jacobs found, has leapt from less than one-third (29%) last year to nearly half (46%). And smartphone owners seem to have overwhelmingly positive impressions of their devices, especially those who own iPhones and Android models (who mostly say they’ll stick with these brands for their next purchases). And while it’s probably not surprising that smartphones are quickly replacing devices like cameras and digital music players, well over one-fifth say their smartphone is replacing use of their laptop and desktop computers.

Jacobs also illustrated the growing power of Facebook. It’s far-and-away the top mobile app among respondents (Pandora’s showing wasn’t too shabby, however). Facebook was also second only to e-mail (and far outpaced Twitter) as “First Digital Contact of the Day” and “Best at Creating the Stongest Bonds.”

Jacobs has a quick summary of Techsurvey 7 (plus contact info for obtaining a Top-Line Executive Summary or to purchase the study) here. Check out some great visuals from yesterday’s webinar presentation here.


Continuing our coverage from yesterday on the rise of iPads and other tablets, especially for music (RAIN coverage here), new research in the U.K. has found that 55% of iPad users in the country listen to live radio on their iPad.

Both Spotify and Last.fm are accessed by 9% of users each, while Pandora — not available in the U.K., is used by 1%. “I would think it highly likely that a tablet could deliver considerably more listening hours for radio than a phone,” writes radio expert James Cridland (here).

Back in the U.S., market research firm Gartner predicts PC sales growth will slow this year, partly due to “strong sales” of iPads and other tablets. However, Garnter believes iPads are only encouraging consumers to delay buying a new PC, not directly replacing PCs. Read more from Boy Genius Report here.

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