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Last.fm users on mobile and entertainment devices will have to pay $3 per month for the service
Last.fm is available for a diverse range of devices from Android and iPhone to Onkyo and Denon & Marantz AV receivers.
Like Pandora, Last.fm is a largely ad-supported music discovery site--and it will remain so on the main website--but the staff decided that the same model was not as viable on mobile and other non-PC platforms. Radio will still be free to stream via the main site and the desktop client in the US, UK and Germany; oddly enough, Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 users will still have free access in the US and UK. I guess Android and iPhone, only the two biggest smartphones in the world, get shafted here.
For $3 per month (“the cost of a fancy coffee,” in the company’s words), users can access the service from anywhere without ads. Additionally, paid users can see recent visitors to their profile and access the new VIP zone, which offers more charts, graphs and other goodies from the Last.fm Labs.
“We believe our radio -whether it’s a personalised station or artist and tag radio – is the best in the world and we’re proud of the depth and range of our catalogue of music from major labels, indies and unsigned artists,” wrote staff member Matthew Hawn in a blog post. “We’re committed to building Last.fm into a bigger service that gives listeners the best music discovery experience anywhere while financially supporting and promoting the artists who make the music we love.”
Of course, there’s another online radio service that think it’s the best in the world: Pandora. Easily Last.fm’s biggest competitor, Pandora still offers free listening on its website and mobile devices, but non-paying users are limited to 40 hours per month and must listen to ads every few songs. Pandora One subscribers pay $36 per year (same as Last.fm) for unlimited listening, no ads and higher quality audio (192 kbps).
The big difference is that Last.fm provides a wide range of other features, like artist pages, event pages and “scrobbling,” by which the service records the music you listen to in real-time.
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Last.fm is a social networking company which revolves around its music recommendation engine. Recommendations are made by comparing user data to the rest of the Last.fm user community. This community gives more potential to grow into media other than music. This is most likely a reason why media giant, CBS, acquired Last.fm for $280 million in May of 2007.Last.fm grew from very modest funding compared to its competitors Pandora, ilike, MyStrands and others.
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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.
Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.
Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.
• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected