Last.fm Flips the Subscription Switch… In Smaller Markets

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Last.fm is finally spinning a subscription-based offering, at least outside of the US, UK, and Germany.

In smaller markets, access to the custom-tailored, Last.fm radio service will soon cost 3 euros ($4.05) per month, according to the company.  The rest is free, including recommendations, scrobbling, and networking, core components of the Last.fm model.

In the bigger markets, that same charge removes ads from the radio service, one that contains roughly seven million songs.  Just like Pandora or Slacker, the Last.fm radio station fine-tunes over time, based on the tastes and preferences of the user.  Sounds fun and engaging, though Last.fm disclosed that sales were simply not generating enough capital outside of its core markets.

Or, perhaps within the core markets.  Increasingly, ad-supported, online media companies are struggling against bottom-scraping valuations, including YouTube.  Whether Last.fm has better targeting remains unclear, though its concept is a bit more focused.  Still, Last.fm has nothing near the traffic volumes of YouTube, and CBS appears to be struggling to properly monetize its $280 million investment.  The changes go into effect March 30th.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.