Friday, March 27, 2009
Possible end of last.fm for me! =(
A few hours ago, I received an email from the last.fm team saying this:
You're getting this email because you have been using Last.fm Radio.
Today we're announcing an important upcoming change: Last.fm Radio will require a small subscription of €3.00 /month. You'll receive a 30 track free trial to try before you buy. All other Last.fm features will remain free.
Why, you're probably asking? Read on about the change here:
We hope you'll continue to support our service,
- The Last.fm Team”
Well… I’ve been a very serious user of last.fm since August 2006. There’s much about it that I’ve found very useful and very neat, as I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts. I’ve used it for discovering new music, looking into the listening habits of myself and my friends, sharing music with my friends and… much more. But well, now I feel that this may be the end of my serious use of last.fm.
I have to mention, €3.00 /month really isn’t that big of a price at all… but that’s not really the point here. For me, it’s mainly a matter of it “not feeling right” any longer. I’ve been having uncomfortable feelings about last.fm for a while now, as it’s been showing symptoms of becoming one of those monster size money-loving companies. I guess it started when they introduced limitations to the number of tracks one could put in a playlist. Then they decided that non-subscribers can’t play the playlists at all. Then as a result, my player gadget stopped working. Very uncool. Then recently I read the rumors that last.fm has been handing over user listening data to RIAA. Of course last.fm totally denies that, but from some of the behavior I’ve been observing from last.fm, it’s not sounding so unbelievable. And now…. now they want to charge us for listening to radio! They’re now requiring subscription for what’s one of the most basic capabilities of this service, and oh yes, they’re giving me exactly 5 days to decide about it. =) Well, thank you very much, I don’t need your 5 days. There’s no way in hell that I am paying you for listening to radio. Most specially since 95% of the stations that I listen to, play FREE music. Yes. I listen to the Demoscene tag radio, Chiptune tag radio, and similar tag / artist stations. And the people who produced this music, uploaded their work to last.fm freely. So why the heck should I pay for listening to it? And I listen to the libraries of my friends. Which I can just as easily do, on other free services. It’s radio for crying out loud. The web is full of radio stations, and last.fm does have competitors. Well as I said… it’s not about the money. It’s about the idea. It’s about a form of betrayal. It’s about all of us serious users being taken advantage of. I would not pay this fee even if it was €0.0000003 /month.
So what happens now… is that I’m going to start seriously looking into alternatives to the last.fm radio. As to whether or not I will still use the client to scrobble my listening data… I will have to see. That capability is till unique, but given how much I’m disliking last.fm right now, I’m not sure whether or not I will care. So well, if any of you my friends reading this article is familiar with some good alternatives, please let me know.
Update: A friend of mine, who thanks to my bad news is now completely ticked off, also posted an article about this. Check it out!