Last.fm’s Surprising Lack of Solidarity

I like Last.fm. My username is iancr. Check out my profile. Add me as a friend.

But I was genuinely surprised and disappointed Last.fm didn’t participate in the Day of Silence today. I was completely mystified by this blog post from Felix on the Last.fm blog this morning. I’ve read it a few times to try to figure out what they’re really saying, and here’s what I get from it [THIS IS MY SNARKY TONGUE-IN-CHEEK PARODY OF FELIX’S POST, MEANT TO BE SARCASTIC AND FUNNY, NOT A DIRECT QUOTE.]:

Unlike every other Internet radio station, we’re happy to run radio as a loss leader to drive new users into our social network. Due to high royalty costs in the UK, this was already part of our business plan. We never were, and never hoped to be close to breaking even on radio as a stand-alone business.

And what about those radio pure-plays like Pandora? Get a social network, guys, or get off the field. Pure-play radio isn’t a business. In fact, high rates keep amateurs out of our way.

The Internet radio business sucks. Duh. So we cut overall deals with the labels, leveraging our social network to get more favorable radio rates. Why would we join a group of whiners looking for a reasonable statutory rate when we’ve already gone to the trouble to cut a bunch of direct deals? Suckas.

Anyway, who cares now that we’ve sold? Whoops, did I say that? What I meant was, “Our users come first!” Heh. Sure, a little solidarity for a growing industry would be nice, but we can’t be bothered. Sorry.

Come on, guys. We all know that Last.fm isn’t a radio service, it’s a social network. A damn fine one. CBS clearly didn’t buy you for your incredible radio business, most of your users don’t even use it. But Yahoo! isn’t a radio service, either. Radio is a *very* small part of our business. Maybe I’m a sap who remembers the Christmas break where Tom and Justin invented SHOUTcast, but I’d like to see the small webcasters survive and am willing to stand up for the fact that RADIO SHOULD NOT BE A LOSS LEADER. Sheesh. You could have joined us on this one for the good of music on the Internet, and chose not to. Your excuse is weak, and your users know it.

I still love ya, but I had to call bullshit on this one.

ian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s