Last.fm announced on Monday that its service would no longer be free on mobile devices. As someone that has been a member of their service off-and-on since the days that Audioscrobbler (the technology Last.fm is based on) was an independent service, I thought that it was only appropriate that I should dedicate some time to give a proper salute to the Last.fm service as they make the changes necessary to stay afloat in today's economy. The blog post on Last.fm's website explains in detail:
On the Last.fm website an ad-supported, free-to-listeners model is what supports our online radio services in the US, UK and Germany. In other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience, but instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world.
Last.fm started in 2002, making it one of the original internet radio station websites out there. To be honest, I never understood the appeal that Pandora has held over many of the people that I know, but that may only be because Pandora doesn't know me as well. Audioscrobbler has had a plugin for iTunes for years (one that even allowed you to "scrobble" songs that were played on your iPod!), so a good bit of information about my music tastes could probably be found in their database. In fact, you could probably chart how my music tastes have changed over the years if you so desired.
Unlike many people, I imagine, I don't use Last.fm for general listening purposes very often. Usually, I'll go poking around looking for a new artist. Because of the knowledge that it has on my listening habits, it makes some pretty good recommendations. All-in-all, I expect I'll continue using Last.fm for some time to come, but I don't use it nearly enough on my phone or iPod to justify the additional expense. I like to joke that I'm too much of a control freak to give up the control of my playlist.
Anyway, I feel that I have satisfied the nostalgic need to tribute to one of my favorite web services out there. You may now proceed on with your day!