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Music The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Last.FM To Require Subscription For Mobiles and Home Devices 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-thine-foot-offend-thee,-shoot-it dept.
Hummdis writes "If you, like so many others, listen to Last.FM on your mobile or home entertainment devices, then you're going to need to pay for this once-free service effective February 15th. It remains free to listen on the Last.FM website, Xbox Live, Windows Mobile 7 phones and the desktop app, but if you want to continue to listen on Android, your Blu-ray player, or any other device, you'll need to spend the $3.00 per month to be able to do so."
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Last.FM To Require Subscription For Mobiles and Home Devices

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  • Pandora it is then (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Good call, dopes..

  • Content costs money. They've been providing it for free for a long time, and will continue to provide it for free in many cases. Asking a small fee to support their efforts hardly seem unreasonable. I already pay for Pandora (also $3/month) and it's well worth it.

    • Someone linked to this from the Ars article on the subject, seems quite relevant: How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? [informatio...utiful.net]
      • Quite interesting. Aside from the financial side, I think getting stuff played via internet radio and the like is more about exposure, though it is good to see that self-pressed CDs make the most for the artist (not that this wasn't obvious already).

        The problem is that you will earn a lot less by changing from free to pay for (even if you only charge $3 p/m) due to people's perception of value. You've already set the value of the service at free, to charge feels like the subscriber is getting ripped off. Th

  • Ok, Next (Score:4, Informative)

    by bobjr94 (1120555) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:42PM (#35130604) Homepage
    Shoutcast has thousands of streams, Pandora , Maestro.fm, if you have satellite radio you can listen for free online, there are hundreds of sites on Itunes radio, etc...Shouldnt be much of a problem to ditch them.
    • if you have satellite radio you can listen for free online

      You can listen online for free? News to me. My Sirius package doesn't have internet access last I checked. Maybe I need to try logging in.


      Oh, and just how do you get any of those services on your XBOX360 or other device that ONLY has Last.FM?

    • if you have satellite radio you can listen for free online

      Not on SiriusXM. $3 a month for internet or mobile access.

      • by cwtrex (912286)

        If you have a lifetime subscription, you have free internet radio streaming.

        They had, however, deactivated my account when they made the change to paid only for everyone else, but it only took a phone call and they reinstated it since otherwise it would be a violation of my contract.

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      Shoutcast is hard to beat and when I'm driving I listen to XM nearly all the time. Between those two I get all the "radio" I need.

      If XM should raise their rates again, I may drop 'em.
  • Bleh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aeternitas827 (1256210) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:43PM (#35130606)
    Only reason I had the Last.fm app on my phone was because I could listen without either a) having to pay or b) getting stuck with a skip limit; though, to be honest, I haven't used it much as of late, being that I can get an actual decent radio station stream via TuneIn. Still sad to see it go this way though.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      if you're paying, might just as well go with spotify.
      it's a bummer though when services go this way, "free" in web browser, except if the browser is on devices z, y or x.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:44PM (#35130626)
    So how do they know if you're on Android listing through your browser? Change the ID string to Internet Explorer (or Firefox if you can't stomach Microsoft anything) and keep on listening.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:50PM (#35130710)

      So how do they know if you're on Android listing through your browser? Change the ID string to Internet Explorer (or Firefox if you can't stomach Microsoft anything) and keep on listening.

      I'm guessing if you're doing it that way it's fine, but if you're using the Last.FM app itself, then you'll have to pay. If you leave it at default it'll just take you to the appropriate place to download the app. If you fake the browser ID you get the desktop page which can take forever to render and the flash thing can be as slow as anything (and thusly drain your battery faster).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You need to access a page? Rhythmbox has last.fm support built-in and it doesn't render html at all.
        • by nschubach (922175)

          I'm kind of curious if this will still work. What's to stop someone from creating an Android app that uses Rhythmbox's last.fm "method"?

    • by Timmmm (636430)

      Flash reports what platform it is running on.

    • Problematic for mobile devices, where Flash players on web pages will stop as soon as you minimize them. :(

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:46PM (#35130648)

    ... that's the chickens coming home to roost.

    All you folks who ditched the eeeevil "traditional" services that wanted payment because stuff on the internet was free: this is your wake-up call. Now that you've had a taste of their wares, it's time to pay up if you want the good stuff.

    It wasn't going to be free forever, so you need to start thinking about which businesses you want to support, because the big media conglomerates are about to roll over the web like the juggernauts they are.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      I don't think so.

      As long as thees dumb companies make it so you can get it free one way, and have to pay using other ways, it'll be pretty simple to get it free the other ways, using technical hacks.

      For instance, if you're on your PC, using an open-source audio player, how can they keep you from getting it for free? All you have to do is make it look like the audio player is a web browser, which is trivial. Writers of these free audio players will have no problem writing plug-ins for these services which
    • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Monday February 07, 2011 @06:12PM (#35130940) Homepage Journal
      Or we'll just wait for some other small startup company to come along and broadcast free radio over the net again. We'll switch to that until they get big and start charging, and then it's on to the next service. Welcome to the web. Things move fast here Sweetheart. ;)
      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        I've probably been on the web much longer than you, Sweetheart. I think the days when small startups offer things for free is coming to an end. The time to choose who you want to support with your payments is coming fast. Don't confuse the web of your youth with the web of the future. I have not, and I haven't been wrong so far.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I've been on the web as long as there has been a web to be on, sweetheart, and what I've noticed is that there is always another player coming along to try to make some money on a business plan guaranteed to fail, who can find some investors dumb enough to think that it could work.

          Seriously, with some of the stuff that was invested in during the dot-com bubble, we had it proven to us beyond any doubt that many investors are total fucking idiots who clearly did NOT earn their fortunes.

      • Or we'll just wait for some other small startup company to come along and broadcast free radio over the net again.

        It would get a negligible number of listeners because in order to be lawful, it would have to play only Creative Commons or similarly licensed music, not major label music. The supermajority of the general public demands major label music.

    • Wait, is demonoid down? Oh Jesus you scared me for a second. You joker you!

    • It wasn't going to be free forever, so you need to start thinking about which businesses you want to support, because the big media conglomerates are about to roll over the web like the juggernauts they are.

      It wasn't ever free, that's a lie to attempt compare ad-based web radio to piracy. We already support the business by listening and looking at adds. Foolish business try to demand payment, and get replaced by better ones that don't. The music industry makes less in a year than what Sergey has in his personal bank account. I personally think that Google is going to steamroll the media corps soon. Look at youtube. We already get all that stuff for free. Oh, and corps can take over the Internet. It'll be gon

  • by Lyrata (1900038) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:46PM (#35130656)
    I've used Last.fm for a long time, but on my Android phone (Droid 1) the quality is mediocre at best and cuts out on occasion. I won't be paying for this.
  • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:48PM (#35130672) Homepage Journal

    Last.fm is hardly relevant today, because of grooveshark.

    Grooveshark is like last.fm, except that you can play any list of songs you want in any order that you want, and you can rewind/fast forward as you wish. Oh, and it lets you play music all day long (there is no limit to number of minutes you can be connected).

    I'm surprised that the RIAA hasn't come down like a ton of bricks on Grooveshark yet. It is different from limewire and napster-classic in just two ways:

    • The music you stream cannot easily be downloaded for storage for offline play.
    • Anything that looks like Pink Floyd is removed. That's the only band that Grooveshark admins fear.
    • by fotbr (855184)

      The music you stream cannot easily be downloaded for storage for offline play.

      A quick glance at the search engine of your choice shows that doing exactly that is trivial.

    • by Rennt (582550) on Monday February 07, 2011 @06:04PM (#35130882)

      I thought I'd check out your recommendation. Unfortunately, according to the android market at least, grooveshark requires $9 month for a "Groovshark Anywhere" subscription if you want to use it from your mobile, although it does have a free trial of unspecified length.

    • I don't know if it's just a buggy implementation of flash on Linux or what, but I've been having issues with the Grooveshark website for about two months now. Quite specifically, the login feature seems to fail to register button clicks at all for me. I hope I can get it figured out soon, I really did love that site (and just before it bugged out, I has spent a good 5 hours perfecting a nerd-rock playlist).
      • by lennier1 (264730)

        That's the main downside I'm seeing with Grooveshark.
        With Last.fm there was at least Vagamule (modified version of Vagalume) as a "fire and forget" solution to search, listen and record at the same time (and end up with nicely catalogued MP3 files).

    • by HazE_nMe (793041)
      If you want to use Grooveshark from your Android device without paying for a Grooveshark Anywhere account just get TinyShark from the market. It looks like it just streams through HTTP and Grooveshark doesn't know you are listening on a mobile device.
    • This is a godsend for those of us with foreign music tastes (at least I could find many French artists). Too bad that Apple is still shackled by the music industry into not allowing cross-border music sharing... then grooveshark it is.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      Anything that looks like Pink Floyd is removed. That's the only band that Grooveshark admins fear.

      That's because Pink Floyd have their own air force. They bought RAF Mildenhall in the 1980s. Although it's techically a US Air Force base, it's privately funded by a shadowy organisation headed up by Dave Gilmour.

    • Really? I'm always fucking getting pink floyd. Especially wehn the radio is called 'Rush'. I mean I like Pink Floyd, but I always get some 10 minute song on there and it drives me nuts.
  • by lowlymarine (1172723) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:50PM (#35130714)
    Free on the desktop, XBox Live, and Windows Phone 7, eh? Gee, how inconspicuous. But seriously, with all the stuttering the Android app was worthless unless you were ONLY listening to Last.FM and not trying to actually use your multitasking anyways; if I had to guess, they didn't give the audio stream the right level of priority. Since no other media player had those kind of problems, I wasn't sure whether it was merely incompetence or an attempt to drive people away from using the radio on their phones. I guess now we know?
  • Google Listen? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:54PM (#35130756) Homepage Journal

    There's always Google Listen [googlelabs.com]. It's not live streaming, but it has a large library of "casts" (should I really use the word "pod" for non-iOS centric speech?) available for your to peruse. Just sayin'..

    • Good call! Mod parent up.

      Fun fact: the term "broadcast" is a farming term referring to throwing seeds over a tilled field.

      • by adolf (21054)

        Fun fact: the term "broadcast" is a farming term referring to throwing seeds over a tilled field.

        Are you suggesting that "podcast" be deprecated and replaced with "broadcast"?

        If so I, for one, am all for it.

  • This news surprises me. Last.fm has always been $3/month, with a very short free trial. I'm guessing it must have only been free in North America or something.

    Earlier this year they also cut a number of "channels", including the option to listen to "my collection". They offered no discount for the reduced services so I gave up my subscription. I got the distinct impression that this was under pressure from the usual RIAA types.

    • by zrq (794138)

      I did the same. I used to listen Last.fm a lot, and I discovered several artists that I hadn't heard of before, and bought quite a few albums as a result.

      I had a monthly subscription, and I thought it was well worth the money. I wasn't that interested in the big name bands, what was interesting were the less well known artists from their huge database of music from around the world. But like you, I cancelled my subscription when they cut the "my loved tracks".

      It was nice while it lasted, but .. the world mo

  • I've only ever really used it as it was intended, as a scrobbling device for massive muso-geeks. Basically it's all about showing how fucking cool your music taste is.

    http://last.fm/user/TheoGB [last.fm]

    Read it and weep, crap music fans.
    • by Tink2000 (524407)

      I came to say this, too. I love the scrobbling end of things.
      Discovery has been so-so, but definite big winners when it got it dead on.

      My stuff [www.last.fm]

    • I listen to it occasionally, but I agree that the main point is the scrobbling.

      http://www.last.fm/user/The_Barbarian [www.last.fm]

    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      Likewise. I don't think I've every used it for streaming music, I have Spotify for that (which I do pay a subscription for because I like it and use it a lot).

  • It is not very good at all. It uses my juice and processing power "Scrobbling" whenever I play my own mp3s, it takes forever to load even though I have a high-end phone, it spends more time not playing than actually playing, and it keeps playing Breaking Benjamin and similar bands no matter how many times I tell it not to. Pandora isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than last.fm and my own library is best.
  • Please add some form of adaptive (or configurable) quality to your streaming service. I currently find it unusable (and therefore not worth paying for) due to occasional audio gaps. I would FAR prefer lower quality without interruptions to a high quality stream that cuts out once or twice per song.

    • by Shadyman (939863)
      Sounds like a router issue on your end. I have no problems whatsoever on a semi-lousy (Canadian) 4-5Mbit aDSL connection with 3 users.
  • Are there any alternatives that feature a tag system, and the ability to search the intersection between two tags (as Last.fm did, briefly, before inexplicably removing the feature)?

    (i.e. return everything tagged with both "foo" and "bar")
  • Last.fm has been requiring a subscription in other "less-civilized" countries (for all devices, computers included) like Canada for a while now. $3/month isn't bad for premium services. Additionally, Pandora won't even show us Canadians their home page, let alone stream music to us.

    I'd rather pay $3 to have music than try to search around for stuff I want.
    • Last.fm has been requiring a subscription in other "less-civilized" countries (for all devices, computers included) like Canada for a while now. $3/month isn't bad for premium services. Additionally, Pandora won't even show us Canadians their home page, let alone stream music to us.

      Probably because, while it's bad enough here in the US, it's far worse with regards to the record labels in Canada and streaming music services [theglobeandmail.com]. It also looks like this year it stands to get worse:

      Starting next year [the article

  • Well I guess that service is history.

    Subscription / Paywall models have been tried for 10 years now. They pretty much fail.

    It was nice knowing you Last.FM

  • First, some disclosure: I've happily subscribed to Last.fm for over a year. With that out of the way, streaming isn't the point of Last.fm. It's all about the scrobbling. Last.fm knows about my music tastes and provides just plain better recommendations than any other service I've tried.

    Or, let me put it this way. I'll start using other music services when they start giving me video game remix recommendation like Last.fm. (To be fair, Grooveshark at least does have a handful of game remixes.)
    • by Mr2001 (90979)

      With that out of the way, streaming isn't the point of Last.fm. It's all about the scrobbling.

      The way I see it, the only value of scrobbling is to get better personalized streams. I don't see the point of uploading all that data just so you can review it later on a web page.

      Last.fm knows about my music tastes and provides just plain better recommendations than any other service I've tried.

      Agreed, but a list of recommendations isn't very useful on its own. I've been using Last.fm for years specifically because it uses my music tastes to introduce me to new music by playing it. If I just want a web page that says "since you like Band X, you should try Band Y", I can post on a forum and get answers from actual humans

  • Windows Mobile 7 phones

    There is no Windows Mobile 7 platform. There is a platform named "Windows Phone 7", but one could reasonably argue that the quotes are nessisary around that title, since it is not a Mobile Windows platform. Windows Mobile development did not differ much from developing directly for Windows CE, which is a full fledged member of the Windows OS Family. "WP7" is built on top of the Windows CE platform, but unlike the actual Windows Mobile series no version of the Windows API is exposed to programmers. Instead,

  • I've got a handful of squeezeboxes, and occasionally listen to last.fm streams on them. Since I'm only an occasional listener, I won't be subscribing. Conversely, the likes of somafm are far more suited to occasional use - you just pay them a few bucks whenever you feel like it.

    For all of last.fm's blustering about helping me find new music, I've 'loved' hundreds of tracks, but haven't actually bought much of it - they're actually not that great at actually pushing you towards albums or artists that you mig

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