Last.fm: we feel for Spotify
26th Apr 2011 | 15:41
Because ad-supported music is a tough gig
Spotify's recent move to reduce the amount of music that users can stream for free has prompted sort-of rival Last.fm to express sympathy for the Swedish music service.
Speaking exclusively to TechRadar, Last.fm's head of product Matthew Hawn said he understands how difficult it can be to move from a free product to a subscription model.
He told us, "I feel for [Spotify]. There's definitely a place for ad-supported services. Don't forget, radio has always been ad-supported, it is a very successful model."
Radio, it's true
"Free on demand as an ad-supported model hasn't had the same illustrious history. We were in that space, we had a rough time in that space - it didn't really move our numbers and it costs a lot," he continued.
"I won't comment on Spotify's [move], I think they've got a different model to us and it's good that they're trying stuff out. We tried it a few years ago and made a decision that it wasn't who we are."
Last.fm made the tricky move from free service to subscription itself, which prompted "some noise on our boards" but the company still sees it as a good value service.
"It's an ad-free experience for £3 a month which I feel pretty good about.
"We recognise now 45 million unique tracks. We have 12 million tracks [to stream]. Us and Spotify are right at the top of that but we're in more places because of our subscription product. We're really popular now in Brazil.
"Last.fm started off flying the rebel flag, saying 'we're going to break the music industry' - that's not eventually what happens. We tried free on-demand for a while and it wasn't a particularly successful feature for us."