Last.fm Layers Videos Into Recommendation Offering

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London-based recommendation service Last.fm is now layering music videos into its offering, an aggressive challenge to YouTube.

The enhancement will allow users to create customized video channels, based on expressed preferences.  The concept is getting started with content from UK-based indies Ninja Tune, Domino, Warp, and Mute, as well as artists from Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group.  Last.fm also pointed to agreements with EMI and Warner Music Group, as well as a collection of roughly 20,000 independent labels.  That forms the underpinning for an immense video collection, one that will offer broad exposure to new and established artists.  “Last.fm aims eventually to have every music video ever made on the site, from the latest hits to underground obscurities to classics from the past,” the group indicated.

According to the company, videos will be streamed sequentially, and users can rate the content in a more passive model.  That lean-back approach allows users to determine their level of involvement, similar to the Launchcast radio rating system on Yahoo.  From a broader level, the video rollout will appeal to dedicated music fans, though users are already accustomed to finding any video on YouTube.  In a competitive stab, Last.fm is hoping to trump its well-established target on quality, though it remains unclear if fidelity issues are critical to end users.  “The quality of videos on Last.fm will be significantly higher than that of YouTube, with audio encoded at 128kbps compared to YouTube’s 64kbps,” the company indicated.  Meanwhile, bands are artists will be able to upload their own content onto the service, a move that almost guarantees gargantuan content volumes.