Last.fm Acquisition Step 4: Founders Step Down

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Is it any surprise when the founders of an acquired startup jump ship?

The original owners of a purchased company frequently have difficulty adapting to culture of the acquirer, especially when confronted with something as massive as CBS Corp.  So, on Wednesday, the exit of all three Last.fm cofounders seemed unsurprising.  “After two years running Last.fm within CBS we feel the time is right to begin the process of handing over the reins,” blogged Last.fm cofounder Felix Miller.

The goodbye seemed simple and sweet, with little drama discussed.  Actually, Miller did point to a Last.fm audience that has doubled over the past year, specifically to 37.3 million monthly unique visitors.  That sounds exciting, though speculation naturally turns to changes by CBS Corp., a company stressed to produce some revenue from its $280 million buy.

The departure in also happening alongside a high-profile spat with TechCrunch.   In a series of articles, TechCrunch accused Last.fm of sharing user information with major labels – and potentially the RIAA – a charge vehemently denied by Last.fm.  But TechCrunch head Michael Arrington claims to have unearthed some sneaky arrangements by parent CBS, based on whistle-blowing sources.