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RAIN 12/12: Layoffs come to Last.fm as CBS lets go 20% of London staff

Posted on: 12/12/2008

CBS: LAST.FM CUTS PART OF CNETINTEGRATION PROCESS

CBS Interactive has laid off in the neighborhood of 20 to 40 Last.fm employees, mostly from the website’s London headquarters. According to TechCrunch (here), one source pegged the number let go at over 40, but CBS says it’s less than 20. Last.fm has 95 staff members in the London HQ.

CBS is reportedly positioning the layoffs as a continuation of the “integration process“ which “began six months ago when it bought CNET for $1.8 billion. But it is not just the CNET businesses that are being cut,” writes TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld. He also notes, “Last.fm never really became a big money maker from what I can gather, and all of those engineers and other staff members are not cheap. Even after a redesign last July, growth has been flat.” According to comScore (see chart at right), Last.fm saw a 6% visitor growth from July to October, but is still topped by Imeem and Pandora. Last.fm was bought by CBS in 2007 for $280 million (RAIN coverage here).

FORMER STAX OWNER LAUNCHESAMERICAN SOUL MUSICWEBCAST

Al Bell, former owner of Stax Records and ex-president of Motown has launched his own website Al Bell Presents and webcast “Al Bell Presents American Soul Music.” The webcast is the first of several and is powered by American Media Services-Interactive. Bell programmed the Internet radio stream, which includes tracks from Stax and Motown. The website also features photo galleries, bios and music video “screening rooms” for up-and-coming artists. Read more at Radio Ink here.

VERIZON SPONSORSNEW MUSICWEBCAST, HD SIDE-CHANNEL

Since April and into next year, the “Verizon New Music” channel is broadcasting online and on 21 Clear Channel radio stations as an HD side-channel. The channel features up-and-coming artists, aimed at 18 to 34 year-olds. The only ads are from Verizon Wireless, which run as two 20-second spots an hour. Jennifer Lane notes, in her Audio4Cast blog (here), “This is an excellent example of leveraging cross platform technologies to attract an advertiser like Verizon Wireless.”

RADIOBETA A HANDY LAUNCHPAD FOR TUNING IN TO STREAMING RADIO

RadioBeta, a radio stream aggregator, is a handy tool for when looking up a stream or opening a separate application like iTunes is too troublesome. Listeners can find their radio stream by searching by location, genre, or name. The interface is minimal but intuitive, keeping the stream playing even when searching for a different station. Multiple stations can be added to a temporary “playlist” for easy switching, but channels can also be added as permanent favorites after a free registration. A simple, handy site that gets you to your streams just a little faster. — MS



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