CBS-owned music service, which has struggled in downturn, is also scrapping radio streaming offering in most countries
CBS-owned Last.fm is to put part of its music service behind a paywall in countries including the US and UK, and is scrapping its radio streaming offering altogether in most countries.
Last.fm, which has struggled in the downturn, said that from 15 January it intends to put its desktop radio service behind a paywall in the UK, US and Germany.
It has already done this in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.
However, the free ad-funded online streaming service, which is the core of Last.fm’s business and is used by tens of millions of listeners each month, is unaffected.
In Last.fm’s 2011 financial results advertising accounted for 70% of its £7.3m total global revenues and subscriptions 23%.
Last.fm, which reported a pre-tax loss of £4.4m last year, said that it is completely closing its radio service in “all other countries”, and will only offer a subscription service from 15 January.
Listener numbers in markets outside Last.fm’s eight biggest countries – which include Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and China – are thought only to number up to 20,000.
Last.fm, which was acquired by CBS for $280m in May 2007, admitted that economic conditions have forced the company to look at its business model in different markets.
The company said it is not able to provide radio streaming in the non-core countries “even to subscribers, due to licensing restrictions”.
“We will continue to look at the state of the market in other territories and hope to expand again in future as it becomes more viable,” said Last.fm. “When it can be done so economically we hope to be able to open streaming to a wider audience in the future.”
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