Last.fm Ends Radio Service After Competition From YouTube/Spotify

Last.fm has ended its music streaming services.

The flailing music recommendation website used to give paying subscribers the ability to stream music from Last.fm’s servers to any device. However, they have struggled to keep up with competition from the increasing number of artists uploading music to YouTube, and other music innovations like Pandora and Spotify.

The revenue they received from subscribers was not enough to cover their rising licensing and infrastructure costs. Every they streamed a song, they had to pay a fee to the publisher of that piece of music. Last.fm tried to curb those costs in January by launching a beta which allowed users to stream music from YouTube and Spotify on their website. Now, as of April 28th, that beta will replace their radio streaming service, effectively killing off a large potion of their revenue to curb their licensing costs while increasing their reliance on the very technology that killed their streaming service.

The CBS-owned website is based in the U.K., and will still offer a paid subscription to remove adverts from the service and allow early access to new features, but all streaming on the site will go though YouTube and Spotify.

“The music landscape has changed considerably and we’ve been forced to make some very difficult decisions surrounding our core products and services,” a spokesperson for Last.fm said of the change; which has been poorly received by users of the Last.fm forums.

Instead of the highly competitive streaming market, Last.fm will focus on their core music discovery and recommendation engine, which builds a profile of music a person likes as they ‘scrobble’ on the website.

Stephen Doble

From his London office, Stephen leads our new media industry coverage at Videoter.