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…
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.