Are you familiar with Audioscrobbler? It’s a little tool that works with your computer’s media player (iTunes, Winamp, etc) and uploads your listening habits to a central website. That way, you can marvel at the number of times you’ve listened to “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”, while also browsing other people’s playlists and finding new things to listen to. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s lots of fun.

Anyway, the people who designed Audioscrobbler expanded their operation a couple of years ago, creating Last.FM, a cuddly Web 2.0 social networking site combining the Audioscrobbler technology with Facebook-style profile pages, messageboards, personalised streaming radio feeds and the potential to run your own little online record label.

Oh, and then music industry giants CBS bought the company.

Yep, another corporate takeover, and this one cost 280 million US dollars, to be precise. And while Flickr, Myspace and Youtube don’t seem to have been affected too badly by their corporate takeovers, I think I’ll be keeping Last.FM at arm’s length. Via Robert Fripp, here’s an extract from the contract you must agree to if you upload any of your music to Last.FM…

By uploading Licensed Material, You grant to Last.FM a non-exclusive, royalty-free license (including the right to sub-license for all purposes related to the Last.FM service (for example, embedding the Last.FM player on third party websites (such as personal blogs).

Now, I’d be naive to think that I was going to get rich by uploading any of my tracks to Last.FM, but that’s not the point. There’s an underground music revolution going on out there… or perhaps not.

This entry was posted in Art/Culture, Music industry, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Last.FA

  1. Mark says:


    Didn’t realise that, I’ll have to pull my ‘hit’ rushing up the Last.FM charts.

  2. Steve Dix says:


    It’s, as far as I can see, a pretty standard license across a number of platforms, with arse-covering aplenty going on. Let’s face it, you’re essentially doing the same thing when you put your music up for podcast – allowing someone to play it in the hopes that someone may stump up and buy it.

    Or is it that you’re afraid CBS will do the internet equivalent of a 3-bolt-neck to

  3. adrian says:

    It’s the open-endedness that worries me, Steve. You’re not simply uploading your music to their website, you’re giving them full rights to use it there and on any related projects. That’s essentially the same deal as I have with Future, except that only applies for 6 months and I get paid for it!

  4. Steve Dix says:

    It depends what you mean by “related projects” though, doesn’t it?

    You’re certainly not giving them the right to use it in a film or on an advert, as those are “synchronization” rights, and they’re not named specifically. They’re just basically trying to cover their arses over allowing people to embed their player in their site, and then you coming after them for royalties.

    They’re going to have a hard-enough time defending that as it is…

  5. Andy_D says:

    Although I have no music on there at present I have been sharing my preferences for some time now. I wonder how they use the data – seriously thinking of pulling the plug on that!

  6. Steve Lawson says:

    I’ll be leaving my stuff on there – it’s a similar contract to the one that MySpace had up – is there a termination clause that says you can take it down and the contract is terminated? I haven’t been sent any new contract details since the takeover, and I uploaded all my stuff long before CBS got involved… If there is a termination thing in the contract details, they couldn’t possibly use it for anything nefarious, as you’d just terminate the deal, and then sue them for anything ongoing… so it’s just to cover them when someone embeds a playlist into their blog and one of your tracks is on it (tracks that you’ve selected to be playable in such a way, BTW), you can sue for airplay royalties. Which, to me, is fine… :o)


  7. Jol Dantzig says:

    Sometimes, I think that the only revolution going on in music is the increasing speed of the corporations to keep up with, and then seduce the “rebels”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>