Warner Pulls Music From Last.FM

Last.fm’s on-demand streaming service has proven to be extremely popular, with its number of unique listeners up 92% only four weeks after the service was first launched. Warner Music Group have now thrown a spanner in the works, however, as they have officially withdrawn their catalogue…

Playing With The Big Boys

The increase in promotional exposure afforded by the on-demand service may not be Warner’s priority, but their antipathy could be fuelled by the fact that CBS own the London-based Last.fm. The withdrawal may be a ploy to engineer an equity stake in the music service, similar to the one they have in MySpace’s music division.

It’s worth noting that Warner artists can still be heard on their individual artist pages, as this is part of a different licensing deal – it’s just the on-demand bit that has been pulled.

Still, considering that many major acts such as Neil Young, Nickelback and Death Cab for Cutie are still available on other music streaming sites, this represents a significant threat to Last.fm’s user-base in a highly competitive and fickle market. In the world of Music 2.0, a site can go from world-beater to dust-eater in a matter of months. It seems likely that the site providing the most comprehensive catalogue of easily accessible music will have the best chance of survival.

If Last.fm wants to maintain its momentum, it may well have to cut some sort of deal that will bring Warner Music back to the on-demand table. On the other hand, the withdrawal may hurt Warner more than Last.fm – reports indicate that the full track preview service increased CD and download sales by 66% – so maybe Last.fm doesn’t have so much to worry about.


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