Last.fm abandons on-demand song streaming

Personalized music radio service Last.fm has announced that it's dropping the on-demand section of its offering in favour of a number of partnerships with other sites that offer on-demand streaming music.

In most of Europe, that's Spotify, and in the USA it's MOG. In some cases there'll also be links to MP3 blog aggregator The Hype Machine. In the near future, there'll also be links to We7 in the UK, and video service Vevo in the US and Canada. Last.fm says it's not fussy, though - "our vision is for Last.fm to efficiently connect any user to ALL of the relevant streaming options in their country for every track we know about".

The site also has a new track page planned, and has issued a beta that offers a number of statistics on each track. You can see people listening to it right now, how many times you've listened to each track in the past, and a graph of its popularity over time. It'll continue to offer the streaming radio service that forms the bulk of its offering.

Last.fm said, in a blog post: "We believe that this renewed focus on Last.fm as the definitive online home of your music taste and your base for music discovery – regardless of where you listen – will help improve not just our users' musical lives but the overall online ecosystem as well".

Update: On further reflection, this move will also be rather good for Last.fm's bottom line. Paying PRS fees for individual track streaming is expensive (compared to radio), and has never been the real focus for the company. Farming it out to other services makes Last.fm more distinct from those services, and saves the company money.