Make Some Noise

Monday, 25 June 2007
by Felix Miller
filed under Announcements and About Us
Comments: 156

It seems we owe everyone an explanation on a subject that has come into the public eye over the last few days. Tomorrow is the so-called “Day of Silence,” during which thousands of US webradio broadcasters will get together to turn their radio streams off for a day to protest the newly-introduced higher rates that SoundExchange intends to charge them.

Last.fm decided long ago that we wouldn’t be participating in this; I’d like to explain here why this is the case. To warm up, I suggest you read this Techcrunch post (and today’s one), which sums up the argument for why we should turn off, and, in the comments, the argument for why we should stay online.

Where We’re At

Firstly, Last.fm is a social music platform and not only a radio station. Unlike many of our fellow webcasters, we have a vibrant social network, a massive music fanbase, and people spend a lot of time using the site without ever switching on the radio.

Secondly, as we’re based in London, this kind of legislation is not new to us. In fact, we’ve had to live with its existence since our inception in 2002.

A Quick Licensing Primer

In the US, copyright holders (i.e. people who make a recording, usually the labels) do not get royalties when a song is played on terrestrial (traditional) radio. When webradio became more popular in the early 2000s, new legislation was introduced that charged operators online radio royalties that went to the copyright holders; new media, new rules. A panel called CARP set the royalty rates at ~£0.00035 ($0.0007) per track played, and that was that. After heavy protests in the US, they introduced a “small webcasters” rate which charged a percentage of revenue instead. Last.fm was paying this rate until recently, having been a small webcaster for quite a while.

Recently, a new panel called CRB (which replaced CARP) got together and re-evaluated these rates. In a nutshell, they’ve more than doubled, going up to ~£0.0009 ($0.0018) per track by 2010. This is what everybody is protesting about.

Now Last.fm, being a UK company governed by UK law (which we still are after the acquisition), has been subject to a whole host of additional rules since the beginning. Every webcaster has to pay royalties in all the countries they stream to. They also have to make agreements with all the relevant local royalty collection societies. Since 2002, we’ve been in the process of doing this. In fact, we applied for a UK radio license before the site went even public (with about 3 listeners we all knew personally!). This was smack dab in the worst time to be doing online music, right after the big Napster meltdown.

Pretty soon we also learnt about the copyright charges, which in the UK go to a society called PPL (they’re the UK equivalent of SoundExchange). Since the days of CARP, the PPL has proposed charges which are even higher than the rates being proposed in the US by CRB now.

This continues to be a massive challenge for us, but it’s one we’ve been struggling with for years. We’ve racked our heads to come up with a business model that can survive and even grow under these difficult circumstances, and I believe we’re making progress.

The mood in the US, however, has turned rather pessimistic with a number of stations publicly foreshadowing their own demise. Frankly, we’ve been slightly baffled by the opinions being aired. Rates have been a commercial reality for years.

Play It Louder

So why do we think the “day of silence” is not a good idea?

We do not want to punish our listeners for our problems, period.

If a commercial challenge comes up, we have to deal with it. We have always done that, as many people who have been using Last.fm for a while can attest to. And we’ve had our fair share of challenges. (Like the server growth problems we’ve been battling recently. Mischa was overheard grumbling that “we’ve probably put in two days of silence!” over the last couple weeks; a heartfelt thanks our users for their patience.)

Since Last.fm started we’ve engaged in negotiations with the music industry, leading to our recently reaching an agreement with several major record labels for the use of music on our service. As a legal and responsible provider of music, we’re continuing discussions with record labels and music publishers. At the same time, we’re negotiating with royalty collection societies to make sure we can get rates that make sense to us.

The only solution to this dilemma is commercial; make a commercial argument and see it through. What benefit does music have if no one is playing it anymore? There are various opinions about the promotional benefits of playing music on the radio, but having your music heard by more people instead of less can’t be wrong, no?

What I am saying is: it’s in no one’s interest to let online radio die. But people want to make money from their music. And we want to pay artists for the music we play. It’s only fair.

We think – and this is the opinion of the whole Last.fm office, who you can meet on our lovely team page – that turning off the radio is just plain wrong. This has been a no-brainer from day one for us: the users rule, and we serve them. If only one person wants to listen tomorrow, we should serve them. I for one want to listen every day.

Online radio won’t die in a hurry, but it will be hard work. And we don’t deal in silence.

Comments

  1. James
    25 June, 16:26

    Interesting post, I’d always wondered quite how the royalties for radio plays worked

    James – 25 June, 16:26
  2. Ben Darlow
    25 June, 16:37

    In defence of the other online broadcasters who are taking part in this day of silence: They’re not all last.fm. Most of them are pretty tiny, and would struggle to meet the costs that are being imposed on them. How is it reasonable to assume that the cost per song play is in any way related to the amount of revenue that broadcaster takes home for that play? It feels disingenuous to say that it’s “a commercial challenge” and that these broadcasters should find a commercial solution.

    What about, for instance, Soma FM (www.somafm.com)? This site is advertising free, and always has been. The argument made to justify royalties has always been that internet broadcasters hurt music sales, but in my experience this is simply not true: I discovered many new bands through them, who never get airtime on major radio stations. Now, I appreciate that is last.fm’s raison d’etre also, but is there not room for more than one such broadcaster on the internet?

    Ben Darlow – 25 June, 16:37
  3. Dave
    25 June, 16:40

    lol…thought/hoped this was about the weekend problems…
    So how’s the Weekend of Scrobbling Silence going?
    I’m blocked from last.fm at work…so curious to hear if the issues have been resolved.

    Dave – 25 June, 16:40
  4. Matt
    25 June, 16:53

    @Dave: We’ve been working round the clock on the scrobbling/submission problems… it’s unfortunately a multi-system interaction thing and a quick fix hasn’t been possible. Can’t promise an exact time for things being back to normal, but shouldn’t be too much longer.

    @Ben: It wasn’t too long ago that we were tiny too! We couldn’t agree more about the discovery value of online radio airplay, and we’ll continue making that case to the music industry best we can.

    Matt – 25 June, 16:53
  5. Pichu0102
    25 June, 17:19

    While I think you should, I can see where you’re coming from, and I respect that. It’s nice to know that you believe in the people who listen.

    Pichu0102 – 25 June, 17:19
  6. Quentin
    25 June, 17:21

    I completely understand your position on this and I follow your reasoning, but the companies for whom you are paying to use their music are the ones who are behind the idiotic attempt to throttle net radio. Am pretty fond of last.fm, but before I found last.fm I was really into a couple of radio stations from Japan, which aren’t here any longer. If the proposed radio fees were in place I don’t know if they would have even been there at all. OK, OK, they wouldn’t be faced with the US radio fees but, in general all the tiny streaming stations within the country….I found about 50 bands I liked from those stations, which now corresponds to tracks I like being scrobbled. As much as I like last.fm, I just want to say that your arguments are still very arrogant and just because you charge a voluntary fee (which I gladly paid after figuring out how awesome last.fm is and will still pay after this) that there are probably 100’s of awesome radio streams that will disappear, and I am very disappointed that last.fm is not taking part in the boycott. I realize you aren’t based in the US (despite being bought by a U.S. company? how’s that work again?) but ahem, {arrogant American here} aren’t most radio stations probably based in the US? If not I apologize for my assumption but still, just wanted to say I disagree with your reasoning. Also thanks for the awesome service :)

    Quentin – 25 June, 17:21
  7. Jon Davis
    25 June, 17:30

    Since you’re now owned by CBS, an American company, won’t you eventually have to pay these royalties too?

    Or do you guys not mind simply because CBS will pay any bills you receive (and will be happy to do so considering it’ll kill off other stations/music sites/competition that can’t afford to pay the fees)?

    Jon Davis – 25 June, 17:30
  8. Felix
    25 June, 18:16

    @Jon

    we are paying soundexchange already, not only eventually. And we also need to pay all other countries' royalties that we stream to, as will all US stations that stream to other countries, which is likely, them being online stations. So following that logic there needs to be protests in all those other countries too.

    Felix – 25 June, 18:16
  9. Ilya N.
    25 June, 18:24

    From what I’ve heard it’s not just doubling of price, it’s that royalties are going from per-listener to per-track, which would massively increase rates on stations.

    Ilya N. – 25 June, 18:24
  10. Zach Hale
    25 June, 18:25

    Thank you for this post. I respect your opinions and am happy to hear your point of view. I was supporting those who were saying last.fm should go silent, but you’ve convinced me otherwise.

    Long live (always playing) internet radio!

    Zach Hale – 25 June, 18:25
  11. Quentin
    25 June, 18:42

    Hello again :) Felix, you didn’t address Jon’s question. Is the reason you aren’t joining in simply because you have the resources (obviously) to be able to afford the new rates? Are you trying to kill all the other radio stations which have songs you don’t have in your tracklist yet? I just question why you are so scared of the mean evil companies that are forcing you to pay them. Aren’t there two sides to those contracts? I’m just saying you have some leverage. Could one of those companies put up a webservice as technically awesome as last.fm? Probably. But, would that website have your userbase, the numbers of which I know is quite large. Would their website have client support? You have leverage, momentum, and capital, and you are the one paying THEM money so you can have the privilige of giving those same companies free advertising, so people can actually hear songs before they buy them. Let’s put it this way. If someone has never even heard of a song or an artist, then they aren’t going to buy their album. If they have, then yes there is a slight chance they will buy it. The companies you are making contracts with are shooting themselves in the foot, and you do not realize that you have the leverage to make a difference. I guess I’m just saying that you seem more interested in getting all cozy with these companies so you can have their songs available for your radio streams, and disregarding the huge amount of music that is available elsewhere for people to discover, and then scrobble. Besides, isn’t radio just a small part of your service? You offer audioscrobbler, you offer an awesome database with a huge loyal community utilizing all the million awesome parts of your webpage. Radio is just one thing you offer…frankly I wouldn’t pay the $3 for radio, because frankly there are hundreds of other awesome radio stations that play songs you don’t have. But $3 for everything else on your site? Just right! I guess it just seems to me that you are trying to kill off all the other little stations because you just got bought for like a lot of money lol. Thanks again for last.fm, I’m finding some awesome new music from you now too. Actually I don’t feel bad stating my opinion because I have pretty much been using your service exclusively. The thing is though, I am not only your fan and subscriber, I am also the RIAA’s customer. From like 15 to 5 years ago I bought probably 300-400 cd’s. In the last 5 years? I buy music I like, because I am poor. The companies I am buying music from are treating me like crap by trying to kill off radio stations because they aren’t getting as big of a cut as they think they deserve. Of those 300-400 cds? I probably have 15, the rest get scratched or stolen (thank goodness for hard drives). But ya, the companies you are so concerned about are the ones being idiots and shooting themselves in the foot. They act like everyone should be paypaling money to them every time they listen to a song on the real radio or online radio, and they act like they don’t make enough profit through cd’s. I don’t know about you guys, but $15-20 for a cd which I’ve never heard before is a luxury, online radio streams are a godsend.

    Oy sorry about the length, but I kindof wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks again for your fascinating service.
    Quentin – 25 June, 18:42
  12. Warren
    25 June, 19:05

    really disappointed. sorry but you’re wrong. independent podcasters will bear the brunt of this and you should stand up for them as much as for your commercial interests. history is replete with instances where people who didn’t stand up for those around them who were being persecuted… until the persecutors landed on their own doorstep…and they found there was no one left to stand up for them. it’s important to stand together when it counts the most…when those weakest amongst your community and least able to stand up for themselves need your strength in solidarity. the internet radio community (not your competitors) needs your solidarity right now…and if we lose those independent podcasters because of a lack of consensus among the larger corporate owned internet radio companies, then I cannot in good conscience support those who didn’t stand when it counted. please reconsider the importance of your position.

    Warren – 25 June, 19:05
  13. Felix
    25 June, 19:50

    @quentin

    you are assuming quite a lot of things ;-) and I will try to answer your main first 2 questions, the nature of royalties is another matter.

    1. we aren’t joining because we don’t think this is the right way to go about this issue. we as a music playing company need to work with the industry and that means talking to everyone. we don’t feel like all routes have been exhausted yet, and as such see no need for drastic action.

    2. no we are not trying to kill all the others, interesting to see that you see us that way. we are the others. we are in the same shoes, and those goes back to #1. we don’t think this is the right action to take.

    I will read the rest at more leisure later … one thing is for sure, things always change. and companies and consumers work together to do it. it has always been like that. the methods are another question. so far I think last.fm is doing pretty good in changing things, wouldn’t you think so?

    Felix – 25 June, 19:50
  14. Felix
    25 June, 19:55

    @warren

    why is this suddenly an issue? everybody presents this as news. outside the US this situation has been a reality since year dot.

    the ex-US community has been getting used to this for ever, and that is the environment last.fm was started in.

    we cannot protest against what we have accepted since our inception. that would by hypocrisy on our part. I am curious how the other companies intend to pay for their ex-US listeners? this issue is not going away, you need to work with it.

    Felix – 25 June, 19:55
  15. Teledildonix
    25 June, 20:26

    I call shenanigans.

    Last.fm is now owned by CBS, which is a charter member of the mafia-esque RIAA.

    How can you possibly make any claims here about your “concerns” for other internet music broadcasters, when your parent company’s profits depend upon exactly this type of legal maneuver? CBS and the other companies in Warren Buffet’s media conglomerate are precisely the megacoporations who stand to benefit from this type of legislation.

    Shame on you for pretending to care about the future of internet radio, when your owners are the greedy thugs who are responsible for this situation.

    Shame on you for calling yourselves the ‘revolution’. The monumental hypocrisy would be laughable, if it weren’t so sad for those of us who actually appreciate music which isn’t churned out by companies such as CBS and the other mafIAA/RIAA monsters.

    Teledildonix – 25 June, 20:26
  16. Nick
    25 June, 20:30

    @felix

    It’s ridiculous to suggest Last.FM taking part in SaveNetRadio’s protest is hypocrisy! The protest isn’t against paying a royalty for an internet broadcast. A royalty similar to the U.K.‘s has been in place since 1996 for U.S. internet broadcasters, so this is not at issue. Most U.S. web stations have been dealing with this since year dot, as well. How about a little solidarity, then, instead of the “You’re getting what’s coming to you” talk?

    The SaveNetRadio Day of Silence is against the unevenness of the increase requested and the effects that increase will have on small webcasters.

    This is “suddenly an issue” because the CRB, via heavy lobbying from SoundExchange, have approved increases so out of touch with reality, that by the time the increases are complete in 2012 stations will be paying rates 300%-1200% greater than their 2005 payments. The retroactive nature of the increases means most U.S. small webcasters will be bankrupt come July 15th.

    There has been an openness among the internet radio community to discuss an increase in these rates PRIOR TO the CRB’s decision, but my understanding is SoundExchange ignored such overtures.

    I think people want to work with labels. No one expects to not pay artists/labels for their music, and a performance royalty for internet broadcast makes total sense. There was always a desire to strike a balance. But the CRB’s decision to ignore the economics of running a small web-radio station is the crux of the “issue”.

    Last.FM can and should take part in the Day of Silence as a member of the webcasting community – It’s price gouging, pure and simple and as one of the market leaders, you have a duty to voice your opposition.

    Nick – 25 June, 20:30
  17. Russ
    25 June, 20:58

    @Teledildonix:

    Once again, CBS are not a member of the RIAA. They once owned Columbia Records (quite a while ago) which is now owned by Sony.

    Russ – 25 June, 20:58
  18. elias
    25 June, 21:44

    Nick, isn’t silencing internet radio exactly what the RIAA wants? (I wouldn’t be surprised if they think that people will start buying more DRM CDs if they cant listen to their favorite radio stations.)

    There must be more clever ways to protest against the CRB ruling than to support the RIAA’s wish?

    Btw, I’m a Last.fm staff member. I’ve had several discussions with colleagues in the last days because I thought Last.fm should join the day of silence. But Felix and others have helped me understand why silence is not going to help bring the social music revolution forwards.

    elias – 25 June, 21:44
  19. Teledildonix
    25 June, 21:48

    @Russ

    This is so tremendously disingenuous of you. CBS is owned by Warren Buffet, who also owns ViaCom. How can you pretend that you do not explicitly share their profit motives?

    Any last faint hopes which i held regarding your position in the music industry are now shredded by the degree of intellectual dishonesty which you have come to display.

    It didn’t even take more than a couple months, and already you are starting to put out the same kind of propaganda as the rest of the [should-be-illegal in the USA, if anybody were to ever enforce anti-trust rules any more, but they don’t] oligopoly which controls more than ninety percent of our media and entertainment “choices”. You claim to be concerned about music, when in fact you are not demonstrating any credible care for that which is outside of the scope of your megacorporate profit strategies.

    My mistake was to believe the illusion that an internet-based company claiming to be about the “Music Revolution” would be any different from the rest of the suck-ups— i.e., those who only longed to be gobbled up by the monolithic corporations whose multi-billion dollar (or two-hundred-eighty-million dollars, in your case) actions are equivalent to trading tokens on the Monopoly board.

    It’s time for me to delete my account. Fortunately, the one good thing i can say is: i didn’t pay you a penny.

    Teledildonix – 25 June, 21:48
  20. Pelle
    25 June, 21:59

    I like your point of view – sounds very healthy partly because it isn’t pointing anyone out as the bad guys :)

    Keep up the good job I say! You are on of the most perfect example of how the web 2.0 world should look like – remember that spirit now when you’re part of the big guys – remember the healthy attitude of a small innovative company which sees possibilities instead of challenges!

    Pelle – 25 June, 21:59
  21. Nick
    25 June, 23:25

    @Elias

    I totally agree that silence is not going to help “bring the social music revolution forwards” But it’s LAST.FM’s silence on this issue, not SaveNetRadio’s Day of Silence tomorrow, that is stifling that movement and causing the most damage.

    Your argument is fundamentally flawed. The idea behind the Day of Silence is to illustrate what will happen if CRB rates take affect on July 15th and smaller webcasters go out of business. It is again ludicrous to suggest that by demonstrating with silence this campaign is somehow aiding the RIAA. It is quite obviously a protest – it’s just like going on strike to protest unfair wages.

    The real hypocrisy here is the fact that LAST.FM can still bring themselves to use “the social music revolution” as a slogan, given their lack of involvement. As a market leader, LAST.FM has a “social” responsibility to take part.

    Sadly, just like the RIAA, LASTFM is too short sighted to notice that it’s (in)action will do more harm than good.

    Not only that, but as admitted in the initial post, Webcasting is a small part of LAST.FM’s offerings. By taking part, LAST.FM wouldn’t be disabling their most fundamentally attractive functions, but they would be sending a strong message of solidarity that price-gouging will not be tolerated and that diversity in webcasting is essential to their well-being.

    The bottom line is that LastFM are failing themselves, the online broadcast community and all independant artists who use webcasters to get their music heard because they are not standing up to be counted in this pivotal debate.

    I love Last.FM, so I’ll be blunt. PLEASE RECONSIDER YOUR POSITION ON THIS. JOIN WITH SAVENETRADIO.ORG AND TAKE PART IN THE DAY OF SILENCE TOMORROW. FOR THE GOOD OF INDEPENDANT MUSIC, FOR DIVERSITY’S SAKE, TAKE A STAND.

    Nick – 25 June, 23:25
  22. Warren
    26 June, 00:31

    well, the moment of truth has come and you’ve taken your stand….I don’t have anything more to say but goodbye last.fm for good. Sad to put you behind me, but you are an unprincipled and self-serving group which does not jibe with my hopes for this world. Uninstalling client right now, and removing all bookmarks or references to your site from my computer. good bye.

    Warren – 26 June, 00:31
  23. Jevon
    26 June, 00:35

    That’s a nice way to avoid explaining how the loss of small webcasters will increase last.fm’s market share, and directly their profits. I wish last.fm would embrace internet radio, not snub it. This is just like what the RIAA would do, I suppose last.fm will eventually crash like the rest of them.

    Jevon – 26 June, 00:35
  24. David
    26 June, 02:40

    I’m not as impassioned as many on here, as I usually listen to Pandora, but have on occasion, used Last.FM’s radio.

    To me, I think the Last.FM decision was reached with some very valid points. My purpose in writing is not to discredit or otherwise disparage Last.FM or any of it’s staff, but rather to point out a couple of issues.

    In the many responses above, reference has been made to the fact that Last.FM has been paying performance royalties since it’s inception in 2002.

    I would like to point out to all that webcasters in the US have been paying performance royalties since 2002 as well, but at a rate well over the 3% – 5% of revenues that seem to be the average in Europe (at least from reporting I’ve been able to find).

    Under the SWSA (Small Webcasters Settlement Act) of 2002, webcasters whose yearly revenues were less than 1.2 million paid 12% of revenue. That’s 12% in performance royalties alone. This does NOT include the 3% (average) paid to ASCAP or BMI. Webcasters earning more than 1.2 million paid higher rates.

    The reason that the US public and webcasters have reacted so passionately to the CRB rates is largely due to the utter failure of the process, and insinuation that it was somehow “fair”.

    1.) In the next 3 years, the rates jump 37.5% (2007), 27.2% (2008), and 28.5% (2009). In what market can a business (aside from Google) expect to increase their total revenues an average of 30% year over year? By anyone’s measurement, that would be considered phenomenal growth under the best of circumstances.

    2.) The CRB actually REMOVED the percentage of revenue model, despite hearing expert testimony validating it’s continued use AND over the objections of small webcasters present at the proceedings.

    3.) The rates were set on a perceived market valuation of $500 million (US)...though it was not mentioned that this figure actually represented the ENTIRE webcasting industry, not just internet-only webcasting.

    4.) In defense of the CRB decision, John Simson of SoundExchange actually made a claim that webcasters could get $20 / CPM from advertisers. Does Last.FM collect that kind of CPM for it’s advertising?

    5.) The determination of rates was based on flawed language in the DMCA. There is no “willing buyer / willing seller” relationship in the music industry. The music industry controls the content and there is no alternative “seller” to spur competition.

    6.) This is the real killer: A separate, independent CARP proceeding determined that a “fair and reasonable” rate for Satellite Radio and Cable Radio was a mere 7.5% of revenue…still higher than that of their european counterparts…but well within reasonable limits. Why should webcasters pay a different rate for what amounts to essentially the same service.

    The US Webcasters are not saying they don’t want to pay the artists. They’re saying the exact opposite. WE WANT TO PAY THE ARTISTS. Let us pay a percentage of revenue that’s more inline with our international counterparts so we can continue to grow and expand our businesses. It stands to reason that if I’m making money, then the artists are making money. The more I make, the more I pay in royalties.

    That’s what the “Day of Silence” is about. It is simply a demonstration that if an agreement cannot be reached, Labels and artists will be paid nothing…and EVERYONE will lose.

    As I’ve said many times, 7.5% of their $500 ,000,000 figure is $37,500,000. 37.5% of nothing is exactly that. Nothing.

    David – 26 June, 02:40
  25. Funky J
    26 June, 03:03

    I’ve paid for this service – I don’t want it going silence, else I want a refund.

    Screw this political movement bull dung!

    Does anyone REALLY think this day of silence will do anything?

    If you want to fight the power, then FIGHT THE POWER! Get your guns and storm Washington and fight the injustices your government is causing you and the rest of the world.

    It is George Bush and his Republican party that allowed these increases, that allows the RIAA and MPAA to ride rough trod all over the individuals.

    It is your right as Americans to take up arms against your oppressors, and if George Bush and the Republican’s aren’t the most repressive government America has ever seen, then what the hell is??

    But as long as you support your politicians and the current form of ‘democracy’ and ‘capitalism’, and protest with impotent gestures like a day of silence, nothing will change, so suck it down and STFU!

    Your little protests will achieve nothing!

    How is it fair that my enjoyment of Last.fm, I service I have paid for, is negatively impacted because of a political movement that ultimately will have no impact on LAST.fm anyway?

    Last.FM’s point is this – THEY’VE BEEN DOING THE RIGHT THING SINCE DAY ONE!

    Instead of jumping into the online music game and saying “I’m not going to pay artists the money they deserve, I’m going to break laws to play the music I want” Last.fm actually thought and planned how to go about it as a business and supply us with a decent service whilst keeping the music publishers happy.

    As individuals you have the right to not play Last.fm and support the day of silence, but as a company that people have paid money to, last.fm have an obligation to provide us with that service.

    Funky J – 26 June, 03:03
  26. closedmouth
    26 June, 04:53

    Last.FM has the most paranoid users. I love the ones that think deleting their account has any impact on anything but themselves.

    closedmouth – 26 June, 04:53
  27. Shadow
    26 June, 08:32

    Honestly i’m reading too many comments of people assuming things, giving situations for granted, expecting how things should or should not be. If this is the attitude of people defending the interests of web radio over there, you’ll succumb guys because you’re completely missing the point. You can’t play us or them with laws and corporation. Integralism is never been a way to anything. Dealing and compromise in adult world is an ordinary word.
    But in particular i’m wondering where were you, fierce fighting americans, while in europe for years we were dealing with this, while our small radio were struggling to grow following law and rules often far claustrophobic than yours. and some of them eventually became Last.fm. I’m not even caring that much about Last.fm, they’ll do what they need to do, because this means evolving. Too much blathering about who own who. Welcome to the world, these days everyone own someone else. So what’s the point? those of you who can only see black and white can call it compromise, i call it adapting. The only way known on this planet to evolve.

    Shadow – 26 June, 08:32
  28. J&MC
    26 June, 11:12

    What really amazes me are these statements that don’t mean anything else than “you last.fm must fight for my rights because I paid the subscription”. These outraged users aren’t doing anything else than shifting their own responsibility to others. While you, users, stay comfortably at home listening to your personal collection of mp3s, it’s web broadcasters who take loses and risks fighting for your rights in this futile display of naivety. Hilarious.

    Even though it’s made for good reasons and we all share it, this protest is completely useless. Everybody knows it. The interests behind last.fm or any of these companies are completely irrelevant. In fact, isn’t it dumb to demand a company you don’t trust to fight for you rights? Why are you so obsessed with last.fm exercising your rights If you don’t trust the interests behind them? Seems pretty dumb to me..

    Anyway. Radio broadcasters, as any business, are absolutely powerless if laws don’t support them. And law is, or should be, a result of the people’s needs, demands and will. If these laws are not it is us, users, who must protest against them, your monthly subscription buys a service, not your our social responsibility. Strikes are made by the people, not by businesses, thus it is not Last.fm, not Pandora, not any conglomerate of web broadcasters who must protest against these laws. It’s us.

    Stop whining and do something about it for once in your life.

    J&MC – 26 June, 11:12
  29. Mike Sax
    26 June, 11:42

    You can spin all you want – bottom line: I’ve uninstalled the last.fm player. Good riddance.

    Mike Sax – 26 June, 11:42
  30. Paul Moss
    26 June, 11:57

    A Day of Silence seems a very old skool way of protest.
    I don’t have a beta idea, but at least start with the premise that getting in-the-face of those who make these “per user vs per track” decisions is a prerequisite to any action choice.

    I can honestly say that Last.fm has helped me discover some new & wonderful artists out there, and my email siggy alwys carries my latest last.fm discovery!

    Paul Moss – 26 June, 11:57
  31. JE
    26 June, 12:01

    Felix,

    >The only solution to this dilemma is commercial.

    It’s not. Political laws and rules are made up by human beings. They are not set into stone.

    They are in place for the benefit of society -( the tricky part is to determine whats the benefit )

    Businesses have two options:
    1. Do nothing and accept laws as the come.
    2. Try to influence the law makers.

    That’s the game. You just resticted yourself and your company to the first option. Do you think that’s smart?
    It may be not worth the effort for you,
    but you shouldn’t say other companies shouldn’t try to influence law makers.
    It’s their choice. And it’s a valid one!

    JE – 26 June, 12:01
  32. Ravi
    26 June, 12:47

    change the bloddy font!!!!

    Ravi – 26 June, 12:47
  33. Tim
    26 June, 12:51

    I’m so with Funky J

    Plus all the people who are threatening to leave if last.fm doesn’t go silent: please leave sooner than later, then maybe the site speed will increase and scrobbling might become more consistant ;)

    Tim – 26 June, 12:51
  34. Robbie
    26 June, 13:10

    You should be honouring the day of silence, and I think by not doing so you will lose the respect of a lot of your members.

    Robbie – 26 June, 13:10
  35. Andrea Gerak
    26 June, 13:29

    Wow, reading this post and all these comments (and I read other websites too on this matter today, to see what is going on), it’s very interesting to see how many different viewpoints can there be on one single subject!

    And one can go into endless discussions and debates about such HUUUUUUGE matters as money, business, this and that kind of copy- and other rights, organizations, laws, percentages, rentability, market and all that jazz.

    While forgetting the most important thing: we should be talking about MUSIC... And it could be such an incredibly simple thing as
    1) there are artists who create stuff and are happy if they can give some nice moments also to others with it
    2) there are listeners who are happy to listen to the stuff these artists created.

    That’s the bottom line.

    Then, there are different channels that help to make this happen. Doesn’t matter what type of media are we talking about, the only clever approach can be to serve these 2 points above. In the way that it is economically fair to all parties.

    In other words: an internet radio has to satisfy its listeners AND its artists/labels while figuring out business solutions for their own financial issues.

    So my first question was this when I heard about this Day of Silence thing, and it still remained unanswered: if the purpose is to reach more and more listeners and play more and more songs from more and more artists, then how the goddamn heck does it make any sense NOT to play?

    A service-minded internet music radio can’t afford to shut up even for an hour, in order to “show support to a cause”, it just sounds stupid. (Okay, I could understand 1 minute silence occasionally, to honor an exceptionally great artist passing away, but that could be the only reason, not to speak about technical breakdowns now).

    Sorry, I don’t want to offend the intention of the people and the participating radios, but hey – supporting music by NOT playing music? C’mon, doesn’t this sound weird to you?

    Have those internet radios asked their listeners if they would agree with NOT getting service for a whole day? Have all the listeners agreed? If not, how do they dare not to play music for them, especially if it’s a paid service?

    Have those internet radios asked their artists/labels if they would agree with NOT playing their songs for a whole day? Have all those artists agreed? If not, how do they dare to force artists into a strike the artists didn’t want???

    Just ask a musician: if they want to say something, protest against something, raise their voices about an issue, would they do it by shutting up? Hell no! They would rather grab their instruments or sing, wouldn’t they?

    Those who communicate in the right way, will survive. Those who don’t, won’t. As simple as it is. Sometimes, simple things can be very hard to grasp, for many.

    As an artist myself, I only support those solutions where the listeners, the artists and the channels in between ALL benefit. And cutting back on SERVICE is the worst solution one can figure out.

    If a radio station has money problems, can’t they come up with solutions of how to give better service and clever marketing and promotion ideas? That’s the only way to attract more listeners, artists, advertisers and other partners.

    And as far as the initiating entity, the SoundExchange, I should better check them out and see how the hell is it possible what I read about them that I should PAY first, in order to obtain my copyright shares…

    So I just posted a new song to my artist page on Last.FM and right now I am listening to one of my favorite tag stations – just have to find out how to turn up the volume on this computer :-))

    Have a good day everyone, with a lot of cool music!

    Andrea Gerak – 26 June, 13:29
  36. JB
    26 June, 14:01

    Bravo Felix and the last.fm crew,

    It probably wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s the right one.

    The US doesn’t rule the world and neither will politicians listen to what the consumers want.

    People who act ridiculous by deleting last.fm accounts and such should take a look at the world arround them and delete limewire accounts instead of the great product you provide.

    You’ve got and will continue to have my paying support!

    JB – 26 June, 14:01
  37. alvin
    26 June, 14:37

    In your post you mention countlessly about how this is all for the user and you guys dont want to punish the users for your problem and etc…

    but have you thought that maybe a somewhat large portion of your users want you to participate in this? It’s a prefect avenue to raise awareness for this issue either.

    Casual users who tune in every day probably don’t know what’s going on. Then this one day, she/he can’t connect to your service. She looks it up and knows about the boycott.

    I really don’t think she’s gonna be like ‘ oh crap, do i have to suffer for this?’

    Judging by the lastfm forum postings and ‘noise’ around my feeds, it doesn’t seem to me that by such action, you are ‘minimizing’ our sufferings.

    alvin – 26 June, 14:37
  38. wildun
    26 June, 15:45

    I think some points are being missed. The Day of Silence is not silence, but no music instead. Most stations are playing public service announcements directing listeners to support the pending legislation in the senate and congress that would set rates comparable to satelite radio as well as change how these rates are set in the future so they remain fair. I would think last.fm would be in support of these bills. Inevitably it is the support of the listeners calling their represenatives that will push this legislation through, thus the day od silence. At a minimum last.fm could run some of these public service announcements to show support for the internet broadcasting community as a whole, or even produced their own. That would not be being going silent while still sending a message to their US listeners and fellow webcasters. Even ShoutCast (AOL) put up a notice on their front page, although they did not go silent, they wanted to show support for this campaign. Since last.fm chose to take no action whatsoever, sadly I can only deduce that you do indeed have your own interests at heart and not the interests of the internet broadcasters as a whole. I would think last.fm would be happy to have the rates contained in the legislation, but for some reason is not willing to help make the legislation reality. This is what I do not understand personally. Isn’t the future of all webcasters the real “Music Revolution”? I would be interested in your response to my post. I’m in no way condemning you for not participating, just stating my thoughts on the matter.

    wildun – 26 June, 15:45
  39. helen
    26 June, 16:07

    Felix, two questions:

    1) You have struck deals w/ Warner and EMI. Does this mean you don’t have to pay the new royalty rate for content by these labels (thus lessening your payments)?

    2) Have you made any side deals w/ Sound Exchange?

    helen – 26 June, 16:07
  40. Sean
    26 June, 16:14

    I think a big part of today’s protest is to get people to call their Senators and Representatives in Congress and ask them to support the Internet Radio Equality Act.

    The silence part makes a statement, the action part is trying to get the legislation passed to stop the changes.

    In these matters everyone makes a decision. That Last.FM has made one and is sticking to it is admirable. I have my own opinion, and support the effort. I won’t listen to internet radio on Last.FM today while other stations are silent. But I certainly won’t abandon them because they made a choice.

    Sean – 26 June, 16:14
  41. progfusion74
    26 June, 16:26

    I am rather disappointed. Last.fm is one of my better liked internet services. However, it is not the only one. There are some niche services without whom music is not going to be the same. On a matter of principle, last.fm should go silent. It’s just a token and completely worth it

    progfusion74 – 26 June, 16:26
  42. RISE UP MY PEOPLE
    26 June, 16:35

    I too am quiting LAST.FM. To me loyalty is very important. What you did is a shame. This was most likely the one and only time this would happen and you failed us all. I think we should all make sure LAST.FM observes the day of silence even if they don’t want to. Everyone turn off your streams and go read a book or listen to an indie band!

    RISE UP MY PEOPLE – 26 June, 16:35
  43. Ccx
    26 June, 16:42

    @Andrea Gerak
    You didn’t read the posts, didya?
    Nick’s post:
    Your argument is fundamentally flawed. The idea behind the Day of Silence is to illustrate what will happen if CRB rates take affect on July 15th and smaller webcasters go out of business.

    I don’t think that
    1) artists
    2) listeners
    would be happy if small webcasters go out of bussiness

    PS: The point of protest is to inform US voters of the threat to small webcasters. You don’t have to participate in day of silence, but you could put some banner here and there, just to support the cause.

    Ccx – 26 June, 16:42
  44. wildun
    26 June, 16:42

    Felix, two questions:

    1) You have struck deals w/ Warner and EMI. Does this mean you don’t have to pay the new royalty rate for content by these labels (thus lessening your payments)?

    2) Have you made any side deals w/ Sound Exchange?

    ............................................

    1. If you have a direct agreement with a label you can be exempt from paying Soundexchange.

    2. I have no side deals with Soundexchange as I support the pending legislation that would prevent this scenario repeating itself in 2010.

    wildun – 26 June, 16:42
  45. Also Mike
    26 June, 16:52

    The WORLD Series of baseball involved only American teams until 1977. Why should international companies participate in the NATIONAL Day of Silence? Seems to me like the hippies need to get a dictionary and put some thought into the name of their next Day of Crap.

    Capitalism works. Get used to it. There is a commercial solution for everything. If there isn’t a vegan shoestore in your town, you open one. If the rates go up for your All Sting Podcast and it’s going to put you out of business, there’s probably a commercial solution to that as well.

    What good is an online protest anyway? It’s an even lamer duck that 25 people with hand-painted signs clogging up the sidewalk. Online, nobody can see you protest.

    Also Mike – 26 June, 16:52
  46. DNA
    26 June, 16:58

    I like to visit Last.FM every now and again when I get the need to find new music. Today happend to be one of those days. If I dropped in to find the service suspended in protest of outrageous government BS I would’ve signed up on the spot.

    Actions are more powerful than words. So, next time just leave the blog entry blank.

    DNA – 26 June, 16:58
  47. E. Thorne
    26 June, 17:11

    I can understand how paid subscribers should not have to forgo service for a cause they may or may not accept. That does not mean that FM should stay completely silent about the issue. Perhaps free services should be interrupted, either for the day or periodically with short messages indicating that this controversy even exists. There is a middle ground between NO music and music without even acknowledging the issue.

    E. Thorne – 26 June, 17:11
  48. helen
    26 June, 17:12

    @wildun: are you part of last.fm? I’m confused by your response about you having no side deals as it was directed to Felix.

    helen – 26 June, 17:12
  49. Also Mike
    26 June, 17:12

    Also, you can’t listen to awareness. No matter how “raised” it is.

    Also Mike – 26 June, 17:12
  50. Paul
    26 June, 17:21

    Let’s face it, the reason for Last.fm’s failure to participate in this event is profit. Money. Cash. The bottom line. Theirs, not some small-fry suckers who can’t afford to pay the new rates, and whose listeners incidentally just might end up on… last.fm. It’s unbecoming to pretend there’s anything else to it (eg the love of music, personal concern about users, etc), but since when is the big money based on being honest and up-front? It would be good to know if last.fm is expecting any sweetheart deals, but if they’re not that doesn’t really change the picture.

    Paul – 26 June, 17:21
  51. Drew
    26 June, 17:25

    I am thoroughly disappointed and am also uninstalling my Last.fm player.

    Internet radio, just like “regular” radio, generates revenue for artists.

    I’ve purchased several albums off of iTunes and attended at least 3 concerts after discovering artists on Pandora.

    Charging higher rates for Internet radio is not going to help the people who make music. It’s only going to frustrate me when I can’t find anything to listen to while at work.

    You guys rolled over too easy on this one.

    Drew – 26 June, 17:25
  52. wildun
    26 June, 17:31

    helen
    26 June, 16:07 Felix, two questions:

    ......................

    I misread your post Helen.. thought Felix replied…

    wildun – 26 June, 17:31
  53. Fabricio C Zuardi
    26 June, 17:31

    goodbye last.fm, it was good while it last.

    fczuardi, Registered: 23 Sep 2004

    Fabricio C Zuardi – 26 June, 17:31
  54. Tim Hoerner
    26 June, 17:34

    I always loved listening to last.fm as well as numerous other radio-type streams on the internet. I find it incredibly ignorant (if not decietful) that last.fm is not participating in the Day of Silence. As people have stated before, the reason for this is to demonstrate what will happen for many internet radio stations if this goes through. I for one, will not be listening to last.fm since they are not supporting this cause. I have written to all of my legislators and signed many petitions against this as far back as several months ago. This is ridiculous. Goodbye last.fm. I’m sure I’m not the only one leaving because of this

    Tim Hoerner – 26 June, 17:34
  55. AT
    26 June, 17:41

    Why exactly would you support a bill that charges Internet radio more than it charges terrestrial or satellite radio?

    The only reason you did this is because you wish to preserve your profits. And because CBS is a chartered member of RIAA

    Shame on you…

    AT – 26 June, 17:41
  56. Wah
    26 June, 17:58

    It would seem to be that as someone who won’t be killed by these rate hikes, and will in fact benefit from the lack of competition after many other sites fold, last.fm is acting completely rationally in their own self-interest (and in the interests of their shareholders…but I repeat myself).

    True, this is in turn not helping a whole bunch of people who are in the same position last.fm was before selling out, but what the hell, screw ‘em. If they wanted to survive they too would sell out to a major media player and laugh at all the little guys drowning around them.

    You already got yours, screw the rest.

    Wah – 26 June, 17:58
  57. crazed
    26 June, 18:00

    Sigh Already you’ve become corporate shills. I’m out. Peace.

    crazed – 26 June, 18:00
  58. Al
    26 June, 18:02

    I’m very happy you stayed online today – I don’t see why I should have lost the opportunity to listen to your service because other people can write a business plan and throw their toys out of the pram when the artists want some money for the entertainment they are giving.

    Keep it up – and glad to hear you have found a way to make some money whilst making me happy!

    Al – 26 June, 18:02
  59. foetusized
    26 June, 18:40

    RIAA Membership: http://www.riaa.com/aboutus.php?content_selector=aboutus_members

    CBS isn’t a member and hasn’t been since they sold off their record labels to Sony over a decade ago; shame on you for spreading FUD.

    I still don’t understand all the fuss; if this was supposed to be an international protest they US organizers shouldn’t have named it the “National Day of Silence.”

    foetusized – 26 June, 18:40
  60. Nick
    26 June, 19:01

    Seems that although LASTFM have chosen not to take part in the Day of Silence, their representatives are.

    Felix? Elias? Any response to your rather disgruntled users?

    I think it’s worth repeating what AT said above:

    “Why exactly would you support a bill that charges Internet radio more than it charges terrestrial or satellite radio?”

    And yes, by your inaction, your support is implicit.

    Nick – 26 June, 19:01
  61. Rob
    26 June, 19:12

    Also Mike: That’s why we should call our senators and representatives. I did. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer actually pay people to listen.

    Rob – 26 June, 19:12
  62. gman
    26 June, 19:14

    I’m probably wrong but I would think a major reason for participating with such drastic messures is not only to show what internet radio will be like but also to bring the topic to public awareness. I’m sure 99% of your listeners are unaware of the issue. Going silent and then having an explaination of why brings that to their attention so they can hopefully help voice their opinion on the matter and try to influence change.

    At a minimum you could at least put some info on your front page to bring up the topic or better put a public announcement audio notice about the topic at the start of streaming for the day.

    We’re not talking about small increases either. We’re talking about the small podcast owner who uses some music who before July 15th only had to pay a percentage of his meager income, something he could do because it’s very little risk, but how now will have to pay PER PLAY PER LISTENER so that he can no longer podcast because with so little income he’ll now have the risk of actually owing money just to podcast. Sheesh. How can you NOT support the little guy? The situation before was a win-win. Use the music, pay a percentage of your income, if you get big enough then start paying like the big boys. But as off July 15th all those little guys will effectively be cutoff. Basically as of July 15th, unless you have oodles of cash, don’t use music on the net.

    gman – 26 June, 19:14
  63. Harry
    26 June, 19:20

    I guess the one question I have after readng all of these messages is the following: did you decide to continue streaming before or after you came to a successful negotiation with most of the majors? Because, in essence, you have personally taken yourselves out of the CRB debate by correctly negotiating directly and making the labels understand that you are all for selling more music, and not about replacing music sales. In this – you are a minority so far. I absolutely hate the fact that Pandora (my preferred brand) is down today and I do agree that it is somewhat unfair to peanilize the listening and music loving public – but as you well know neither you or anyone else was making any positive margin before the ruling – and no one was going to make any $ after the ruling – so if you believe in the industry of which you are a large part it pays to stand together – if for even a day.

    Harry – 26 June, 19:20
  64. Andrea Gerak
    26 June, 19:20

    Ccx,
    Yes, I did read this post, the comments before me, the 2 articles on TechCrunch with those comments, and a couple of other sites and blog posts on the subject.

    What exactly from what I wrote didn’t make sense to you?

    Andrea Gerak – 26 June, 19:20
  65. DJ Jitar
    26 June, 19:38

    You are not alone, Radio.Rexx is also not supporting the “day of silence.” Like you, I feel that the listeners should not be punished; and quite in fact should never have been dragged into it. It is the responsibility of the station owners to make their businesses work. I applaude you for standing up and speaking up. Cheers!

    DJ Jitar – 26 June, 19:38
  66. David Hill
    26 June, 19:49

    I’ve read the initial post and most of the comments here. Given the percentage of negative comments regarding your decision and subsequent justification—-I can’t help but see it as more than a little ironic that your own “society” (the very same social network that has elevated you to the position you are fortunate enough to be in presently)—-is, revolted by your decision.

    I see that you state that you are currently paying performance royalties. How long have you held a PPL license? How long have you been paying SoundExchange?

    While you are certainly under no obligation to share your private financial affairs with the general public—I do know that it is possible to negotiate a more favorable rate with both entities as opposed to paying the statutory rates. I will add that having the resources to manage that is a huge bonus—so if that’s the case; good for you. For instance XM and Sirius have a deal that’s reportedly 3-4% of revenues.

    Whatever the case—as purely a business decision—I’m sure the principles at LastFM considered the cost of turning off the streams for one day. Given what has been professed here from LastFM’s point of view—oddly the “radio” is but a small portion of the total draw. By that token, I am compelled to assume that 1 day of silence is (financially) insignificant. Was any weight/cost given to the potential backlash that is now extremely evident? Whoops…..it may hold true that all this broohahah and repercussion for LastFM will blow over and be forgotten in short order. That said, there’s still much to be said for the viral and veracious appetite of the blogasphere as far as PR faux pauxs are concerned—best of luck there.

    Most all US small webcasters have been pretty quick to open their books on this matter so all the FACTS are on the table. Again, you have every right not to disclose the details of any agreements you have with the licensing authorities—-but with all due respect, without the slightest hint as to what you folks are on the hook for royaltywise; your arguments come off as— pretty hollow.

    As “cool & hip” as your Web 2.0 service is, quite frankly you’ve lost every shred of “street cred” with me right now and your view of your own longtail is very shortsighted.

    Please change my mind.

    David Hill – 26 June, 19:49
  67. Tim
    26 June, 20:07

    I am appalled at the arrogance of last.fm on the day of silence issue. Not wanting to “punish” your listeners? That is not the meaning of a boycott, and you know that perfectly well. We are trying to send a collective message, and last.fm is hurting the greater cause. I guess last.fm hopes that the rest of the industry tanks… what else can one conclude? This is disturbing.

    Tim – 26 June, 20:07
  68. Jason Toon
    26 June, 20:12

    I salute the brave gesture last.fm has made by taking down their submission servers almost every day for the past year. For a few minutes today, it seemed my tracks were actually scrobbling (that was weird), but happily, once again the site is broken, the way it should be. All is right again with the world.

    Incidentally, if a hypothetical last.fm user wanted to use a different hypothetical solution for keeping hypothetical personal charts – one that maybe actually worked most of them time, like Audioscrobbler used to – does anybody know of one? Hypothetically speaking?

    I ask only so I can go there and chase away any last.fm disloyalists, of course. How dare those traitors expect a free service to work as advertised! Don’t they know it’s free? Viva la social music revolucion!

    Jason Toon – 26 June, 20:12
  69. palewook
    26 June, 20:30

    gratz, CBS is your owner and master. and simulcast stations aren’t susceptible to the new royalty rates. what are the odds that CBS tears you apart in a year or two. leaving only a shell that mirrors what their crap stations play.

    you have so missed what the special royalty rate hike for only 1 format is about. being in the industry, you know what it is about. but you cashed out and made a buck on it.

    dont pretend to take the higher road and act like something you are not. you made a buck because of the lobbied rate hike. go back under your rock and count your silver.

    palewook – 26 June, 20:30
  70. Bill
    26 June, 20:36

    @Also Mike –

    Indeed, capitalism works. I agree completely. However, this is corporatism, not capitalism.

    There is a big difference between a free market driven by supply and demand, and a closed market being guarded by lawyers and lobbyists.

    Bill – 26 June, 20:36
  71. Peter
    26 June, 20:40

    I’d say you Last.fm guys are alright. It’s your right to follow a protest or not – especially as you are UK based and this is a US issue. Yeah, maybe you could’ve advertised the whole issue a little, but that was your choice and it’s a ok.

    I don’t believe silencing the radio station helps that much. People who care enough about the whole issue have already done what they can do. Everyone else will just change the channel once they are bored to listen to the Bart trains (on SomaFM).

    And as this is about music we should rather crank up the volume instead of going silent. Live it up and keep on dancing! Show them that music is our drug, and once it’s silenced we’ll all go bonkers. I’m sure no congress would want to face thousands of music deprived junkies knocking on their doors.

    Peter – 26 June, 20:40
  72. Jon Davis
    26 June, 21:05

    There’s no doubt in my mind this has something to do with the CBS buyout.

    If last.fm were independent and had to pay for streaming to the US based listeners on a track-by-track basis at the new astronomical rates, then they would be taking part in the movement too.

    I enjoyed using last.fm but if this is what last.fm is going to do then I’m closing out my account and moving to a different service that actually cares about their members and actually tries to do something when ridiculous laws (like the new royalty system) come around.

    Jon Davis – 26 June, 21:05
  73. Steve Rhodes
    26 June, 21:10

    You wouldn’t be punishing your users if you participated today, you’d be educating them.

    And you’d also be educating your new owner which has plenty of lobbyists in Washington who could help make a difference.

    Steve Rhodes – 26 June, 21:10
  74. John Goodwin
    26 June, 21:26

    Goodbye last.fm

    John Goodwin – 26 June, 21:26
  75. Aaron
    26 June, 21:32

    ohhh….so basically, you guys sold out. you could have just made that the title. heck even MTV cut off it’s feed, and their nothing BUT sell outs. now that you guys are owned by CBS you don’t have to worry about the money all that much, do ya? lost a lot of respect for you guys.

    Aaron – 26 June, 21:32
  76. Bonekhan
    26 June, 21:35

    It’s a trick issue. And I can understand where you’re coming from; Radio stations seldom need to impose restraints on their listeners.

    But on the other hand, you’re a webcaster. While you’re able to pay these outrageous fees, other’s aren’t. Many great radio stations will see their end if this bill is passed, and some see it as your duty to help out the cause.

    Well—at least we know where your interests stand now.

    Bonekhan – 26 June, 21:35
  77. Mike Dexter
    26 June, 21:41

    It is disappointing to see the lack of respect Last.fm is showing to other online radios. In a time when practically all online radios need support in order to survive Last.fm turns its back on them even though it itself is a major player in the online radio arena.

    Mike Dexter – 26 June, 21:41
  78. Marvin
    26 June, 21:43

    what the hell!...what is this? school’s out for summer? looks like when i was ten, whining when things didn’t worked out the way i wanted…i’m not playing with you anymore..because you’re sooo baaad!
    LOL...please delete your account kids…i really can’t stand such childish stupidity.
    And all these people with such a great knowledge of economics. God! never realized how many Wall Street brokers were Last.fm subscribers.
    How pathetic…

    Marvin – 26 June, 21:43
  79. MrThursty
    26 June, 21:44

    A rebuttal on two points that you make in this article:

    1: “When webradio became more popular in the early 2000s, new legislation was introduced that charged operators online radio royalties that went to the copyright holders; new media, new rules.”

    —I don’t understand this. Why change the rules when the media changes? No rules changed between LP’s and CD’s. Downloading a bunch of MP3 files for free instead of paying them is the same as walking into Walmart and grabbing a hand full of CD’s. There is no difference, it’s the act that counts. The licensing rates for broadcast should be exactly the same regardless of the media upon which it is transmitted. If the medium mattered so much, then every device, cable, wire, transmitter, etc… that a song ever passed through would require separate licensing.

    2: “Secondly, as we’re based in London, this kind of legislation is not new to us. In fact, we’ve had to live with its existence since our inception in 2002.”

    —Just because you’ve been getting the shaft for the last five years, doesn’t mean that the rest of us should. Get over yourself and help us fix the problem.

    MrThursty – 26 June, 21:44
  80. Roger
    26 June, 22:03

    You guys are branding yourselves sellouts. You have the ability to bring the issue forward to 1000s of people, and refuse to for a single day of profits (which will be lost to the legislation anyway).

    I am convinced that enough people complaining will turn this into a big deal, but when big radio stations like yours do nothing we may never know.

    Roger – 26 June, 22:03
  81. justme
    26 June, 22:09

    Nothing you say could convince me. See back when all the radio stations complained about having to pay, they also told everyone what exactly would happen. They said that larger firms would come in and take over the Internet airways if they had a large membership database, and this would push all of the small guys out of the business, because they don’t have that kind of money. Well this is what is happening Case in point… CBS bought you out! They made a radio monger out of you, and you think it’s all ok. What dorks you are. You got membership fees from your thousands of users, and this wasn’t enough? Give me a break. Your just one pathetic excuse after another. Write your excuses down, but hang on tight… Many months from now your membership will see you for what you really are.

    justme – 26 June, 22:09
  82. AdaMM
    26 June, 22:20

    as i see it, maybe there could be a good compromise: for all your usa based listeners the message when reaching last.fm that day would say something like: “there is a day of silence in usa and we don’t want to have that = read here why”, with the link to this post and “continue to last.fm” to normally continue the listening. i think this would be fair regarding the whole case: you raise awarness of the issue, your position, and the will of people to listen or to keep the silence. don’t you think?

    AdaMM – 26 June, 22:20
  83. Aquatoad
    26 June, 22:29

    Last.fm aside (given it’s unique model) I think my biggest fear is that leveraging these types of fees against ‘net and sat broadcasters is just paving the way for the labels to turn them into the same advertisment-saturated payola-driven crapfest that plagues the FM spectrum.

    Aquatoad – 26 June, 22:29
  84. mullingitover
    26 June, 22:32

    Last.fm board meeting:

    “Chairman: So, this new law is going to dramatically increase the price of running a radio station on the internet. Many small stations will suffocate and die with the increased costs of operation.

    Board members, in unison: WICKED!

    Chairman: Yeah, totally. We’re getting sweet deals with the labels, so this will barely touch us. We just have to share some marketing numbers with them and help with promtions. Maybe a little payola, just like the radio stations.

    Board member: But what about this day of protest they’re talking about?

    Chairman: Whatev. We’ll throw up a blog post about how we’re already paying the rates, and we’re putting up a massive struggle but we’re surviving. Make the whole thing look like a bunch of rubbish.

    Board members: Hear hear!

    Chairman: [cackles maniacally]”

    mullingitover – 26 June, 22:32
  85. Amused To Death
    26 June, 22:33

    The idealistic comments amuse me. I can assure you that more people would have uninstalled their app and voiced their displeasure on the internet if the last.fm service had been shut off for a day – especially after this weekend’s scrobbling fiasco.

    Your futile protest has gone unnoticed by the vast majority of the net, let alone the politicians and businessmen who could actually do something about it. If silence is your idea of making a difference, please refrain from voicing your angst and just leave. Thanks.

    Amused To Death – 26 June, 22:33
  86. jdoc
    26 June, 22:48

    It’s funny how you say
    “We do not want to punish our listeners for our problems, period.”

    Yet, not acting on this may very well punish your listeners in the future.

    Count on me as well, i will never be visiting this website ever again.

    jdoc – 26 June, 22:48
  87. peer
    26 June, 23:01

    You should have had a day of silence. The reason you didn’t is because you don’t agree with the legislation now that you are part of CBS (that makes money out of it).

    It’s a disgrace you didn’t closed for a day (especially as you would have had time to clean up the crappy service you provide lately).

    peer – 26 June, 23:01
  88. Larry
    26 June, 23:05

    Your explaination on why you are not participating in the day of silence is insufficient. I don’t believe that you would have “stood above it” before you got so big and sold, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Larry – 26 June, 23:05
  89. Russ
    26 June, 23:41

    Nobody’s going to believe this, so I’m not sure why I’m saying this. This has nothing to do with CBS – if this had happened a year earlier it wouldn’t have made any difference.

    We are an independent company which happens to be owned by CBS. They are not influencing our decisions. Honest.

    Russ – 26 June, 23:41
  90. Rob
    26 June, 23:45

    I think you’re wrong not to join in. The point of it was not to “punish” your listeners/users but to show them what it will be like without online.

    THEY are the only people who can dictate to the SoundExchange, the Government, the RIAA and anyone else, how it should be. Not the other way around. Businesses in this relatively new industry, can’t do it alone. It will ultimately rely on public opinion.

    Bottom line, people want music and people will get music, whether it’s free (illegally) or through sustainable online radio. The way forward is NOT through expensively priced services, unaffordable to most online radio stations, and I’m surprised you don’t seem to realise that. That will just force online radio stations out of business and push more users to illegally download music, as advertising revenues can only carry a station so far…

    Can’t help but wonder if you have an ulterior motive here, something doesn’t seem right. Whether you’re just weak, naive or you’ve flipped, shame on you. This was a VERY poor decision on your part.

    We’ll wait and see what you have to say a few years down the line, when they turn on you and raise their fees again. You’ll soon realise the huge mistake you made by siding against online radio. Especially when your business model is totally unsustainable, you’re hemorrhaging cash and you have to close down the online radio section of last.fm.

    Whatever happens, RIP last.fm.

    Rob – 26 June, 23:45
  91. Wildo
    26 June, 23:58

    @Funky J

    You, sir, are an idiot.

    “Instead of jumping into the online music game and saying “I’m not going to pay artists the money they deserve, I’m going to break laws to play the music I want” Last.fm actually thought and planned how to go about it as a business and supply us with a decent service whilst keeping the music publishers happy.”

    No one is against paying. There needs to be a happy medium where webcasters can still operate, and the artists/riaa/etc can get paid. If nothing changes by July 15th, internet radio as we know it will be gone. No revenue for anyone. If that’s not shooting yourself in the foot, I don’t know what is.

    Wildo – 26 June, 23:58
  92. A Colorado Music Fan
    27 June, 00:09

    I am a fan of Net music—I love RadioParadise. Right from the start, I’ve thought this “Day of Silence” was a poor mechanism to get the word out. It only hurts the listeners. Would the airlines hold a “Day of Grounding” to protest higher fuel rates?

    The people that need to be educated are those that are not (yet) consumers of online music. I’m not sure this “Day of Silence” informs them much at all.

    Saying something like, “Oh, my. Something I wasn’t listening to or thinking about yesterday has gone silent today. I better call my congressman!”

    They should have had a “Day of Telling Two Other People About the Problem” or a “Day of Getting Music Execs to Meet With Us in a Town Hall.”

    When the core problem is not having enough people passionate about the issue, turning off the music for those people that already are passionate about the issue is just dumb.

    Maybe gays in the US should skip sex for a day to protest the lack of same-sex marriage laws. That’d surely get the attention of lawmakers. Well? Same logic, isn’t it?

    In any case, right or wrong, I think Last.FM’s decision not to participate has caused far more conversation than any one station’s decision to participate—and that was the whole point, right? Dialogue?

    A Colorado Music Fan – 27 June, 00:09
  93. Brammimonde
    27 June, 00:27

    You guys are owned by CBS, so you seem to have the upper hand in all of this. Your parent company will profit massively if everyone else goes down, and you’re allowed to stay online because your parent company has got leverage with government and other players in the game.

    Yeah… you just “happen” to be owned by CBS.

    Paris Hilton got special treatment in jail, but just “happened” to be a multimillionaire heiress.

    Total coincidence.

    I bet it will be an even more unbelievable coincidence when you start playing nothing but Top 40 tracks that have been cherry-picked by marketers once your competition gets killed off.

    Brammimonde – 27 June, 00:27
  94. shadowspawn
    27 June, 00:28

    I won’t be listening to last.fm

    Least everyone online knows what kind of company you are.

    Kudos for standing up for your thoughts, but I disagree with your reasoning.

    shadowspawn – 27 June, 00:28
  95. Nicklas
    27 June, 01:07

    And if all radio stations were protesting in silence, then everyone in front to the computer screens would in unison change the future and undo the change? Colour me sceptic.

    I understand the idea behind Day of Silence, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. You need to keep people listening and at the same time really convince them to get a hold of their representatives or similar. Make people with political power do something. You can’t do that with silence (or a repeating message, those are major turn offs) and a webpage.

    Those that don’t already know will not care because they have already found music somewhere else before they’ve heard what it’s all about. 24 hours of time that could have been put to use in educating is now gone — because there were nothing there to keep them listening.

    Nicklas – 27 June, 01:07
  96. Mike
    27 June, 01:08

    I am disappointed in last.fm for not participating in the day of silence and find their reasons suspect. This decision has obviously caused ill-will in a lot of last.fm’s users, judging by these comments. It may not have a noticeable impact on the bottom line, but I would guess this decision will lose this site a significant amount of users and gain them absolutely none. I for one am new here and most likely will not return.

    Mike – 27 June, 01:08
  97. Kenichi
    27 June, 01:17

    I just find incredibly ridiculous when, there are genres of music I’m just getting around to, because of internet media, are now threatened by the media barron-robbers.

    While I like some mainstream music, I know the corporate controlled radio stations are going to be pumping trance, or other alternative genres of music that I’ve come to love. Such as industrial, goth, electronica even classical and movie soundtrack scores. And because the industry only pimps “the flavor of the minute” artists, this where they shoot themselves in both feet, and then try to punish the listening public and/or customer because hey don’t fit in a predesignated demographic group. They lose money because they’re greedy and short-sighted. But in the end, in their eyes, it’s the public’s fault for wanting something, not necessarily bigger, but better. Saddest of all, the soldiers who are given the b.s. of “protecting freedom” they’re fighting for Corporate States of Amerikkka, to run roughshod all over our rights and freedoms.
    Kenichi – 27 June, 01:17
  98. James Barnard
    27 June, 01:31

    I have just read through all the posts and find it amazing how people complain that last.fm is doing nothing, and standing back and exploiting the situation and almost expecting the “competition” to die, when clearly what Felix has written shows that last.fm feels that the way forward is through dialogue, not through silence.

    None of the world’s longest lasting conflicts were ever solved with anything other than dialogue.

    And so it is thus, that last.fm plans to acheive its goal, through dialogue with all the respective boards, collection societies, labels and artists.

    Nothing more and nothing less.

    If that doesn’t make sense to people, who seem to NOT be able to get off their high horses, I don’t know what does!

    James Barnard – 27 June, 01:31
  99. David Hill
    27 June, 02:25

    @ DJ Jitar –as a small webcaster you say, “It is the responsibility of the station owners to make their businesses work.”

    I’m forced to take your comment solely as a reference to LastFM’s unique and fortunate position with heavily leveraged pockets. If on the other hand you feel it’s possible for any of the small independent webcasters (like yourself) to “make their business work” under the CRB rates—-then my plea to you is to show us the math—-please! I’m dying to know your formula because no matter how I carry the 1’s and slide the zeros, it flat doesn’t “work”—regardless of my wildest pie-in-the sky ad revenue or subscription projections.

    A little closer to home, here is a quote from your licensing agent: “I can guarantee you that if this royalty hike goes unchecked, it will wipe out an entire industry over the course of only a few months. And that itself could have dire economic effects nationwide that were clearly never anticipated. Therefore, it is important that all media outlets and all federal lawmakers become informed of the fatal consequences of this recent decision.”
    Randall Krause
    SWCast Network, Inc.

    @ Amused To Death—you say, “Your [our] futile protest has gone unnoticed by the vast majority of the net, let alone the politicians and businessmen who could actually do something about it. If silence is your idea of making a difference, please refrain from voicing your angst and just leave. Thanks”

    You may have heard a quote that’s been bandied about recently about how on May 1st (SNR Hill Walk day) that many Congressional offices received more calls of concern on the Internet Radio royalty issue than they did on the Iraq War funding bill that was in the process of being vetoed by Bush that same day. Having personally been in one of those offices that day and hearing it with my own ears, I can assure you— it’s a fact. So your pontification that this issue is going on “unnoticed” is nothing more than pot-stirring poppycock. Making a difference? Well, it did in 2002 and prompted Congress to direct SE back to the table where the SWSA was born. I see no reason why the same tact won’t bear similar if not better results given the degree of participation this go round. Time will tell, my guess-not my hope- is you will probably want some salt with your crow. All due respect.

    @LastFM crew—as in my last post, a little more light reading for you is linked in my name.

    @James Barnard —- you speak of dialogue. The link I referred to above may interest you. It’s pretty clear the vast majority here don’t feel LastFM is having any sort of really meaningful conversation with the only one’s that really matter here—-their customers.

    David Hill – 27 June, 02:25
  100. Dave
    27 June, 02:54

    I hope this doesn’t violate Godwin’s Law, but anyone familiar with Pastor Niemoller?

    Forgive me is this runs a bit long:

    In Germany they first came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for me —
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    Failure to act is complicity.

    Dialogue my hairy ass. It wasn’t dialogue that ended the Great Wars, it was a heartful of sickness for the lives lost.

    Dave – 27 June, 02:54
  101. jon
    27 June, 03:51

    Ever hear of Payola…??? That has helped the music die.. Last FM copped out of this….

    jon – 27 June, 03:51
  102. Maximander
    27 June, 04:16

    Having watched this thing (last.fm) grow from a very small site, and even worked on Audio-Tracker back when Russ and RJ were there pre-audioscrobbler iirc, I can see how they can justifably feel that they worked up from nowhere to a large-ish, profitable company and therefore do not feel obliged to engage in a protest of (mostly) small broadcasters. They are proof that you can do it, and pay the bills, and succeed. Do I think they should have joined in? Yeah. Do I think they violated some stone-etched code of ethics? No.

    It will be harder for the next guys to start a small operation and have it grow like last.fm did, but then again, it’s harder to get into the automobile industry today than it was in the 19th centruy. Things mature, laws change. If it’s too stiffling, the market will correct itself, maybe through laws, co-ops, or something else.

    @Russ: we don’t all think you’re an evil sellout pandering to the man. Keep up the good work.

    Maximander – 27 June, 04:16
  103. sam
    27 June, 04:22

    Last.fm is owned by CBS. So you now have deep pockets and an established user base and the ability to make whatever Faustian deals you need to to stay alive. So this is the best thing that ever happened to you – elimination of most of your competition! So your righteous self-regard is pretty funny. We see through it though.

    Hey kids – Capitalism works great – except when a monopoly takes effect. The CRB decision was all about preserving one.

    Another user gone. Bye!

    sam – 27 June, 04:22
  104. MrThursty
    27 June, 04:34

    @Amused to Death

    In response to: “The idealistic comments amuse me. I can assure you that more people would have uninstalled their app and voiced their displeasure on the internet if the last.fm service had been shut off for a day – especially after this weekend’s scrobbling fiasco.”

    —I am a PAID subscriber to Pandora. They didn’t play music today. When I get back to the office tomorrow, the first thing I do will be to turn Pandora back on. I think I can speak for a fair share of Pandora listeners saying that we are proud that they are willing to stand up for what they (and we) believe in and thank them gladly for doing so. I’ve never used last.fm, and now, because of this article, I never will.

    MrThursty – 27 June, 04:34
  105. Tyler
    27 June, 05:14

    I agree with many people in saying that this site didn’t go down because they are owned by CBS, CBS is going to be one of the people making money off of this.

    Your catchphrase is “the social music revolution”...I see no revolution, just the same ‘ole corporate BS. I for one will never listen to last.fm. You all need to tell the truth, and get some respect back.

    Tyler – 27 June, 05:14
  106. Al
    27 June, 05:24

    @Dave

    Dave consider how offensive it is to make a comparison to oppression and charging for something that people own.

    I would be surprised if you don’t feel a little bit shamed – if you can delete that comment is my advice.

    Al – 27 June, 05:24
  107. TJC
    27 June, 06:11

    To Andrea (“If a radio station has money problems, can’t they come up with solutions of how to give better service and clever marketing and promotion ideas? That’s the only way to attract more listeners, artists, advertisers and other partners.”) and the other folks talking about capitalism, the answer is not as simple as it seems. I work for an Internet radio station that serves a collection of impoverished, neglected old Mill cities. There are virtually no businesses left to commercially support the station, but the listeners rely on us for local news, community events coverage, weather, music from local artists and the like. Sure, we reach the world and could change our business model by dumping the local content and sticking to the Top 40. If we did so, however, we would be the latest in a long line of media, politicians and others who abandoned these communities. We didn’t play music Tuesday, but kept the news, weather and community calendar on. I’m a capitalist, but I’m not going to abandon community service just to pay the record labels.

    TJC – 27 June, 06:11
  108. Mike Stevens
    27 June, 06:13

    Hey, you’ve just lost a fan and a loyal user. Bye-bye last.fm! I simply CANNOT stay here when management has views such as yours. Horrendous!

    Mike Stevens – 27 June, 06:13
  109. mark
    27 June, 06:23

    Well, I hope the radio silence for US stations worked.

    mark – 27 June, 06:23
  110. Pedro
    27 June, 06:56

    I am this close of never using last.fm again…

    Pedro – 27 June, 06:56
  111. Chris Bossardet
    27 June, 07:34

    I have to say that I’m highly displeased with Last.fm on this issue. You’re entitled to your opinions, but you did NOTHING to help combat this problem. An entire industry can be knocked out over night and all you have to offer is to “deal with it”. You can’t possibly say that this has nothing to do with your CBS buyout. If you were in the position of many of these small internet radio sites, you’d probably have a different position on all of this. I find out that even MTV turned off their streams for a day and you couldn’t do it? It makes me sad. The radio portion of your site is such a small portion. People would get over one day of no streaming when there’s plenty of other things they could use on the site still.

    I also think it’s funny that a lot of your users are pissed off at your decision (which you claim was to keep the users happy). You also said “...and people spend a lot of time using the site without ever switching on the radio.” Okay….so what would it have hurt to switch it off for 24 hours? Maybe make a news post about it and let people know what will happen…educate people on the issue.

    I really love the service, but I may have to call it quits, too. Good luck to you guys in the future, but I’ll take my service to where I know the webcaster is looking out for my best interests and the interests of the future of Internet Radio.

    Chris Bossardet – 27 June, 07:34
  112. Fabricio C Zuardi
    27 June, 07:53

    @Russ

    “We are an independent company which happens to be owned by CBS. They are not influencing our decisions. Honest.”

    I believe you, and that makes me really sad. Honest.

    I had a completely different image of the las.fm crew in my mind, and to know that this blog post was written without the influence of your current owners just broke all my assumptions about what do you guys value and your motives.

    I really don’t personally give a damn about going silent or not, for me the deception came from the justification. This single blog post made clear which side last.fm is at, and made me realize that the service I helped making successful (even with money support) was not for me all that time.

    I respect what Felix said:

    “This has been a no-brainer from day one for us: the users rule, and we serve them.”

    But apparently the ‘users’ in your company’s view seems to be the collecting societies, and I was simply the one that got it all wrong for all this (good, I must say) years.

    Fabricio C Zuardi – 27 June, 07:53
  113. James
    27 June, 08:49

    “Online radio won’t die in a hurry, but it will be hard work.”

    Gee… that sounds like you’ve set out to kill it off.

    James – 27 June, 08:49
  114. closedmouth
    27 June, 09:11

    Internet radio is MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GREAT WARS

    Internet: SERIOUS BUSINESS

    Oh, PS, THANK YOU to all the people deleting their accounts and uninstalling the player. A few more spare processor cycles and memory spaces for the people who actually want to use the service.

    :D

    closedmouth – 27 June, 09:11
  115. A Larsson
    27 June, 09:18

    I can’t be arsed to read all the comments, so this has probably already been said: for all your high-falutin’ talk about not punishing your listeners blah blah blah, the most obvious aspect of this to me is that the rate hikes may drive your competitors out of business, and their customers into your arms. I can see why you wouldn’t want to protest that.

    And of course, there is no logical reason why you should care if others like you fall by the wayside, since you live in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate Darwinism. But I don’t, and there is no logical reason why I should have any sympathy for your thinly disguised opportunism.

    It’s not dialogue that ends conflicts between The Man and The People, it’s cooperation and solidarity. You may think you’re standing up for something, but I think you’re being scabs.

    A Larsson – 27 June, 09:18
  116. Roy Geurts
    27 June, 09:24

    @James Barnard: If there’s ONE day in the year where there’s radio silence to support a cause, then there are 364 days left for dialogue.

    Roy Geurts – 27 June, 09:24
  117. needlegun
    27 June, 09:26

    I have no objection at all to musicians receiving due reward for their works, but what I don’t understand is how a large organisation like Last.fm can sit idly by and simply accept what is a grossly inequitable charge. Basically internet radio stations are being penalized while other types of broadcaster get off scott free.

    Has anyone actully had the guts to come forward and justify why internet radio stations have been singled out like this? The cruel reality must be that the CRB believes it’s the ability of the listener to ‘rip’ an internet radio stream relatively easily compared with other broadcast media. Therefore the internet radio stations are being taxed owing to the CRB’s fear of lost revenue.

    I have worked through the figures myself and agree that it simply is not financially viable for many internet radio stations to continue operating unless they play 50 minutes of adverts every hour and charge their listeners huge subscription rates! That leads me back to the question – why whould anyone believe it is fair for internet radio stations to have to pay these charges while their satellite counterparts don’t? That is inequality and in part, that is what the protest was about.

    The fact that Last.fm chose to not support the day of silence is very telling, despite their protestations that they are merely being professional and trying to work out a suitable business model to support this unfair charge.

    Basically if someone holds you to ransom you don’t just accept it like Last.fm are doing, unless you somehow believe that it will ultimately benefit you. There is more to this than meets the eye and I suspect that two things are true. Firstly, Last.fm believes it has the ability to pay these charges perhaps because of it’s privileged position within the industry (aka ownership). Secondly, because it knows for a fact that it will drive many of it’s competitors out of business.

    For my part I will vote with my feet and stop using Last.fm. My action may be a drop in the ocean for Last.fm but when you believe in something you do it, you don’t just pretend it’s not happening.

    needlegun – 27 June, 09:26
  118. toolmamc
    27 June, 09:47

    No enough for me. You should have stopped. The first interest for the users is having a freedom of choice, freedom wich will disappear if smallers sites have to close because they can’t pay. I’m sure everybody should have understood if you hadn’t play anything.

    Oh, sorry for my English.

    toolmamc – 27 June, 09:47
  119. Malic
    27 June, 09:47

    Your rejection of the day of silence peturbs me, but it is your assertion that the RIAA should be worked with that leads me to consider leaving your site.

    These people have harassed an eight year old child at said child’s school in order to continue pressuring the parent to pay up to an illegitimate lawsuit (the recording industry eventually dropped the lawsuit, but is now being countersued.)

    They are doing this on a large scale to radio stations. It isn’t right, and: let me be the first to Godwin this argument.

    You are Neville Chamberlain. Not gonna say who the RIAA is ;p

    Malic – 27 June, 09:47
  120. JBL
    27 June, 09:50

    @Dave et al, I think comparing a company’s non-participation in a campaign about how profits are shared to the extermination of 6 million Jews is grossly inappropriate.

    Campaigners: you are using moral arguments, but I’m not convinced this is a moral issue. It’s all about economics and power-play.

    For last.fm: you’re going to have to try harder to win this debate, especially because many of your readers here are responding emotionally not rationally to your arguments.

    JBL – 27 June, 09:50
  121. Nathan
    27 June, 11:04

    To be honest, I can see exactly where Last.FM stands on this. I had never heard about Last.FM before I read it on the Webware.com blog, and I have to admit that I thought Last.FM was being rediculous before I read this. However, I was stuck in the mindset that silencing Internet Radio would mean that the companies in question (I have completely forgotten who they are now, sorry) will need to reduce their royalties. However, this is completely the opposite approach. Silencing Internet Radio means that music companies will not only have won the battle, but will also be winning the war. Internet Radio is one of the “scourges” of the music industry, risking major lables losing revenue (which probably doesn’t happen) and allows for unsigned artists to be heard without the need for these lables.

    An example that may illustrate this better (UK people would understand this more): Royal Mail regularly raise their prices to compensate their losses in the previous half year. The solution seems to be not to use Royal Mail and use Internet and Email instead (both of which are free, apart from ISP costs). This creates the vicious circle of Royal Mail raising costs further to compensate, then more people using Internet and Email. Internet Radio will have the same effect. Companies silence their radio stations because of royalties and other charges going up, companies will continue to put up these charges. It’s the nature of the beast. Protesting will not naturally bring these costs down. Wouldn’t it make sense that Internet radio companies should stand together, protesting against the raise in charges by other means? I’m sure that there are some corporate sponsors somewhere who would be interested in sponsoring such causes…

    Well done Last.FM!!! I have to applaud your decision to stick through this. All other companies seem to be taking the first outlook on the situation, which will not work.

    By the way, I apologise if my spelling is terrible, and if I make no sense in this post.

    Nathan – 27 June, 11:04
  122. net listener
    27 June, 16:17

    I honestly doubt that you haven’t partecipated in order “not to punish your customers”. I could understand “we don’t want to lose the day’s profits” justification.

    You are BIG and you don’t care but if you were smaller you would understand that this is a really important issue. No serious listener who cares about net radio could be upset of not having his lastfm aired for just one day.

    Wrong move, but understandable. This is no web 2.0, it’s just web 1.0 plus (no community here, you just make the decisions in order to gain money and not losing) So, please cut the “we don’t want to punish our listeners” stuff, it’s not convincing anyone.

    net listener – 27 June, 16:17
  123. needlegun
    27 June, 21:04

    @Nathan, you seem to have completely missed the point as well as revealing some rather disturbing views regarding free choice.

    Firstly, the day of silence was an opportunity for many internet radio stations to make a demonstration of solidarity in the face of what is unquestionably discrimination against their operation. It was however just one small part of their fight against the CRB and they are persuing other avenues which include challenging the CRB’s decision via goverment representatives. Unless you have been asleep for the last six months, you can’t have failed to realise this.

    Secondly, your assertion that internet radio is somehow the “scourge” of the music industry is quite frankly the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Have you never heard of something called “free choice”? Would you rather be limited to listening to commercial radio stations that only play the music they are told to play by the music labels? How about unsigned artists who don’t want to sell their souls to the record labels for onerous and restrictive conracts? Have they no right to be heard? The analogy between internet radio and the Royal Mail in the UK is completely false, excepting that it has been proved time and time again that their monopoly has led to poor service that is only now being challenged by competition. However, your argument would see competition being removed and the Royal Mail being allowed to continue it’s monopoly with no incentive to improve service or remain competitive in any way.

    Your last comment is in fact the only correct one…. “you make no sense in this post”.

    needlegun – 27 June, 21:04
  124. David
    27 June, 21:12

    @Marvin

    “And all these people with such a great knowledge of economics. God! never realized how many Wall Street brokers were Last.fm subscribers.
    How pathetic…”

    Economics? It’s basic high school algebra. A x B x C = D. Numbers never lie.

    @A Colorado Music Fan

    The “Day of Silence” must have had some type of impact as news outlets reported yesterday on the overwhelming barrage of phone calls and emails to Senate and House Representatives. At one point, it actually managed to overload the servers that provide House and Senate Representatives’ information to the public…something the company that provides the service admitted had never happened before.

    Here’s why: People that tune into Internet Radio, be it from work or home, are not necessarily activists or news junkies. My wife, who listens to Pandora every day, was caught off-guard by the “Day of Silence”, even though I’d been speaking of it for over a month. The simple fact is that the absence of something that we take for granted serves as a very efficient “wake-up” call.

    Here’s a dramatic case in point. You depend on your car to get to work everyday. What do you do when you open your front door one morning and your car is missing? You do what any sensible person would do; you call the police.

    Same thing here. People expect to hear radio when the tune in. Instead they see/hear a PSA about the situation with the CRB. They DID what sensible people do. They called/wrote their senators and representatives. So, in effect, the “Day of Silence” was exactly what you suggested: a “Day of Telling Two Other People About the Problem” or a “Day of Getting Music Execs to Meet With Us in a Town Hall.”

    David – 27 June, 21:12
  125. David
    27 June, 21:29

    @Maximander

    “If it’s too stiffling, the market will correct itself, maybe through laws, co-ops, or something else.”

    That’s a logical conclusion, with one major flaw. The market did not set this rate. A 3 Judge Arbitration panel did. Read the CRB decision for yourself. It doesn’t take a economics guru to figure out that their fundamental reasoning for the rates they set are flawed to the core. There’s even a couple sections that are so ambiguous it’s like they’re contradicting themselves.

    CRB Royalty Rate Schedule (from Broadcast Law Blog)
    CRB Website

    Think about it…if the free-market system had set this rate, then there would likely be hundreds of thousands of “direct-deals” between majors / independents and the thousands of webcasters and radio stations wanting to stream the music. That didn’t happen. WHY? Because when the DMCA was written in 1998, the RIAA sought a legislative solution to an issue that really did not yet exist in the US…and because there wasn’t really a “webcasting” industry at that point to dispute the other side (the NAB basically sat on their hands), the RIAA got what they wanted from lawmakers.

    David – 27 June, 21:29
  126. David
    27 June, 21:31

    @TJC

    Excellent point!

    David – 27 June, 21:31
  127. David
    27 June, 21:45

    @Nathan

    “Wouldn’t it make sense that Internet radio companies should stand together, protesting against the raise in charges by other means?”

    Here’s the short version of why your suggestion is not feasible.

    In the US, the only option truly available to Internet Radio to protest any federal agency decisions would be to lobby via a PAC (political action committee) or some other lobbying medium. At present, the “Webcasting” industry has neither. They only had mild support from the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) which is the trade group representing radio stations, and to be quite frank, the RIAA (the trade group and lobbying arm of the music industry) has far, far more resources at it’s disposal. They’ve been in DC longer; they have greater access; they have more money.

    It’s cynical, I know…but it is the way it works. So, with that option not available, all that’s left is a grass-roots organized protest that makes the public aware and allows the public to act. The public votes, and it’s up to the public to convince their representatives to do what’s right.

    The effect of the “Day of Silence” was (hopefully) just that.

    David – 27 June, 21:45
  128. Andrea Gerak
    27 June, 21:53

    TJC,

    I do undersstand that all these money related things are not as simple as they seem to be. And although I grew up in the communism, which is an aweful economy system, I am not a huge fan of capitalism either. I hope you didn’t understand from my words anything like “strong ones should stay, small ones should die”!

    And hats off for you for operating your station!

    The only point I was trying to make was that yes, there are all kind of money questions in this whole story, but there are some very basic rules that are above that, and neglecting those, no good results can be expected.

    One of these rules or laws was not only mentioned by me, a few others including this original blog post representing Last.FM, also wrote it down in their comments that IT IS ONLY COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES THAT CAN SOLVE SUCH PROBLEMS.

    Shutting up when one should be making noise is just odd.

    Okay, in my previous comment, I wasn’t even trying to take a stand and tell my viewpoint about the rightness or wrongness of this bill that will raise the royalties to the sky.

    So let me be more co-operative and give you one solution that could be done if one wanted to support the internet radio stations (especially the smaller ones, for they will be more effected by this thing, as we know): instead of shutting up for ONE day, these web radios should work MANY days on reaching as many listeners, artist, labels, other music industry people, community and business folks, lawmakers and gods, and get your message through. Activate all the people you can reach, so that they will shout as well.

    Such a campaign, consequently executed, would bring much better results than one day of “I am a small boy, you are a big one and want to hurt me, therefore I don’t talk to you about why you shouldn’t hurt me, but I show the world how bad you are” type of thing.

    So what do you think?

    Andrea Gerak – 27 June, 21:53
  129. Chris Guest
    27 June, 23:31

    Cor, quite a healthy debate eh? With valid points on both sides too. If only I had the time to read every comment I would get involved. Instead, remember a little context:

    1. Not everyone or everything in the world is American. As a Londoner myself I don’t see why a London-based service should be switched-off because of new rules thousands of miles away that Britons have had to operate within for years already.

    2. What is started out of love can only be sustained by funding, people need a roof over their head and food in their belly and in London that aint cheap. So we have to step away from our illusions that a service like this can continue to be independent of commercial considerations forever.

    What it comes down to is maintaining your own ethics while you grow the business, so if the Last boys are comfortable in themselves that they have made the right decision then so be it.

    Either way, the decision to blog about it and publish the feedback is applaudable.

    Chris Guest – 27 June, 23:31
  130. David Hill
    28 June, 01:23

    @David—nice job. I share your consensus of points 100% as well as your name, :wink:

    @Andrea- You do realize your presence here along with all your genuinely heartfelt responses and ideas that you’re making more of a case for the Day of Silence vs. your intended rejection of the concept right?

    Based on your comments so far it’s fairly evident that you (with much company) were/are unaware of the SaveNetRadio campaign and all the courses of action that have been ongoing even before it’s inception.

    So yes, your “solution” is an admirable one—but it in fact has been on going since (as others have said) day dot. Just curious, did this DOS brouhaha have anything to do whatsoever with you communicating here and offering your sympathy and solutions?

    I think it did so mission accomplished, no?

    here are a couple of links that may help you better understand what has transpired so far—
    kurthanson.com
    savenetradio.org

    As for all this talk of keeping the communication lines open and “doing it for the users”—while last.fm states that it was unanimous among all 30 of their employees to not protest and go silent in solidarity with the other webcasters. Did it occur to anyone (just one second) to ask “the users” what they thought? Whoops…mega growth growing pains mates. Seems as though everyone’s getting a mention and a confab except the customers. I’m all for your bootstrap success fellas—I really am, but this situation is a soon to be classic lesson learned that convention boardroom wisdom is history. Ivory towers are so 1998.

    PS to Andrea on your “better business model” suggestion. I challenge any economist, marketing guru, advertising wizard or crisp collared accountant to make a viable business plan with these rates. It’s simply not possible—make me a liar.

    And don’t believe the record industry propaganda that says that Internet radio is trying to deprive artists and labels of fair royalty payments. Anyone that believes that myth either has not done basic reality math or has had one too many gulps of RIAA Kool-Aid.

    David Hill – 28 June, 01:23
  131. David Hill
    28 June, 03:03

    @Chris Guest— You say:“Not everyone or everything in the world is American. As a Londoner myself I don’t see why a London-based service should be switched-off because of new rules thousands of miles away that Britons have had to operate within for years already.”

    First let me say that as an empathetic UK sympathizer “American”. I can appreciate your chip with our perceived arrogance—some come by it naturally. Hopefully not one of my faults mate….I just live here.

    Now, the reason you can’t “see” why you and “the boys” should have to deal with this “American” issue is that you are harboring a borders mentality. That concept flies out the window on this deal as last.fm or any foreign based webcast for that matter is (technically) subject to the fees of the country to which they are received.

    Just like the CRB rates, a ludicrous and complex concept but it’s there like it or not. With eye blink e-delivery and commerce the tired term global economy has never been truer and foul smelling.

    As for you claiming that we are just now crying about royalty rates, you should do a bit more homework. FWIW, there are cliff notes all about the web dating back “years” on this issue. I mean no arrogance or offense here—but it’s simply a numbers game and the US has you out numbered both in voice and music commerce wise. Yes…we’ve seen what happened/continues to happen in your neck of the woods and the repercussions of what can happen when you are out lawyered. This is why we’ve been making such a fuss —and trust me, for the reasons above it is for all intent as much for last.fm’s benefit as it is our ultimately.

    As for the “where were the Americans when we went through this”. Well, maybe at the time way back when we were dealing with our our own kettle of spoiling fish just as you guys were. And that’s pretty much one of the main points in all of this. At the time we were mutually being out lobbied and barristered—-we had not the means at our disposal to make our pleas for help so immediately and jointly significant.

    As listeners and webcasters we’re all in this pot together now—-the Day of Silence was never designed or intended to be any sort of people of earth mandate to participate. It began as a grassroots campaign idea in 2002 when we fought the first round. The fact that last.fm got caught up in a backlash of non-solidarity speaks volumes for the social music revolution they played a large part in creating.

    Paraphrasing one other very dead-on and succinct post said here earlier, I don’t blame them for not going silent but for their flippant dismissal of it’s purpose and potential effectiveness. In hindsight, they would have scored many more points on their new found public persona had they chosen to stand with us than not—-but that vision is 20/20 and now is better left for the Web 2.0 textbooks ca. 2010.

    David Hill – 28 June, 03:03
  132. Rebecca
    28 June, 10:45

    Dave, yes you invoked Godwin. Congratulations, you lose.

    And I want to direct a honest Thank You to last.fm, for not making your countless international users part of a US National day of Silence.

    Rebecca – 28 June, 10:45
  133. Russ
    28 June, 11:04

    Let me try and clarify things.

    We did not fail to participate in the day of silence because we agree with what the CRB has done here. We think that the CRB’s rates are stupidly high and, as Felix mentioned, they are a big problem for us.

    However, we don’t think a day of silence is a productive way to make our point in this case.

    I will leave you with one question: If UK webcasters organised such a protest against the PPL’s rates in the UK (which, again, have been similar to SoundExchange’s rates for some time), would the US webcasters join in?

    I doubt it.

    Russ – 28 June, 11:04
  134. Chris Bossardet
    28 June, 11:31

    @Russ:

    If they broadcasted in the UK, I would hope that they would participate. But even so, is that really a reason to not participate? Because you hold a grudge? Especially since you admit that these rates are a big problem for you, this reason holds very little merit.

    Regardless, the day of silence is a helpful thing. It’s not meant to have you sit back and say or do nothing – quite the opposite. Those who participated broadcasted messages throughout the day telling people to stand up and say something and to educate them on the issue. You didn’t have to participate, but a notice on your main page or SOMETHING would have been nice to let people know what was going on and that there is a problem. Most people don’t know that Internet Radio is in trouble. By doing nothing at all for this day (besides one little blog post that the majority of your members won’t see), you’re doing exactly what you think the day of silence would do – nothing at all. You’re being silent about it all.

    Chris Bossardet – 28 June, 11:31
  135. David
    28 June, 13:56

    @David Hill

    Thanks! Excellent responses yourself!

    @Russ

    “If UK webcasters organised such a protest against the PPL’s rates in the UK (which, again, have been similar to SoundExchange’s rates for some time), would the US webcasters join in?”

    Excellent question…and it’s hard to say. I would say that if British Webcasters were in touch with US Webcasters and had ample evidence that new PPL Performance Royalty Rates were going to severly affect their bottom lines…Some of them may well join. Who’s to say for certain?

    But I still believe this misses the larger picture.

    From your posts on this blog, I get the impression that the folks at Last.FM have pre-negotiated rates that apply here in the US that may well be less than the statutory CRB rates. If I’m wrong…I do apologize. However, if you’ll indulge me a little further…

    Working on the assumption of pre-negotiated rates, I think it would be a high probability that your rates would be set to expire at some point in time. Knowing what I know of the RIAA and SoundExchange, I have little faith that they would have agreed to an fixed-rate contract in perpetuity.

    This is where I think the issue of borders becomes pointless. See, those negotiated rates are going to come up for renewal at some point.

    As I understand it, Last.FM will still be subject to CRB rates for every stream served to every customer in the US. And it seems only logical to conclude that the opposite would be true, that US Webcasters would be subject to PPL rates for every stream served to clients in the UK.

    So, providing these assumptions are true…I see two basic options.

    1.) Simply shut-off the streams to countries with oppressive royalty schemes.

    2.) Find a way to fight the rates in the countries with oppressive royalty schemes.

    And so I ask in earnest…Which option is most favorable to Last.FM?

    Now, you folks made a business decision, and you have defended it admirably. I have great respect for that.

    My only point in all this is to present as much accurate information as possible in a reasoned and emotionless manner. I believe that in order to make smart decisions, we need to have a complete view of both sides of the coin.

    Afterall, at the end of the day, after everything else is gone, all we have is our integrity, principles and moral convictions. If Last.FM is comfortable with the choice it made, who am I to say otherwise?

    David – 28 June, 13:56
  136. Andrea Gerak
    28 June, 17:37

    David Hill:

    You are absolutely right in that although I did hear about this whole Save Net Radio thing, saw these two websites and read about it on several music sites before, I didn’t care too much. Kudos to you :-))

    But I wouldn’t really call this “Mission accomplished” yet. For:

    What effect actually did Day of Silence create in me and in some other people: did it wake up my freedom fighter spirit (which is very easy to wake up), so that I would say: “RRRIGHT!!! I do NOT want my songs played and I don’t want to listen to music for a whole day, because this WILL help to solve the problem!” Heck, no. It rather made me say: “Gosh, trying to keep music alive by stopping music??? WTF???”

    So for me personally, shutting music up (or off, you English speaking guys choose the correct one) and the whole fuzz about it (is it right or is it wrong that one of my favorite music sites doesn’t participate, and so on) was rather distructive from the REAL problem and from actively taking part in the SOLUTION of the problem.

    And if you do a search on this matter from these last few days, you can find way too many articles and blog posts all over the places talking about how Last.FM is bad, why didn’t they take part, who is right and who is wrong, etc, etc – instead of figuring out ways of how to reach the final decision makers so that they change this bill to a better one, coming up with some bright ideas that could probably help the small radio stations, etc. Again, it’s distraction, but this seems to be over now, in most of the blogs and other sites.

    Well, isn’t it what we are still doing here just now: discussing how right or wrong is to chop off your head for a moment, only to show to the one who actually wants to chop your head off and to the world that you will look very ugly and you will be dead, if he really does it…? :o)

    I still don’t believe in chopping my own head off, for demonstrating purposes… Do you? Or does anyone? If yes, one should definitely do that, to achieve what one wants.

    So it’s probably enough of this aspect of the whole story, so let’s give space for some more constructive subjects, like how could small stations still stay alive and prosper, what would be the highest acceptable royalty percentage, etc.

    It might not be enough simply to protest, saying “We don’t want so highly increased rates!” but it might be also necessary to suggest WHAT exactly then would be fair.

    And I can only second to David’s last 2 paragraphs (28 June, 13:56) and that’s how I would leave this blog now.

    Andrea Gerak – 28 June, 17:37
  137. Kevin P
    28 June, 21:26

    The irony here is the rattlin’ of the infinite number of blogger’s keyboards publicising the lack of LastFM support for DOS, which in turn is fueling a much healthier fire of enlightenment.

    I think we do need to be careful when crayoning national borders and waters, we’re falling for the governmental control parameters when we do, and that’s not what this interweb thing is all about.

    LastFM should have asked the users what to do, simple as that. DIGG had a similar “ownership” revolt over the HDDVD keys, lucky thing for LastFM their user base isn’t quite so relentless and unforgiving.

    A “vote on this issue” page would have given LastFM kudos and a get-out-of-jail card when things turned ugly.

    AS for faux pas, I think the Americans calling it “National Day Of Silence” was a bit daft when clearly the intention was an “Internet Day of Protest”.

    Autopsy aside, I understand where the two Dave’s are coming from, Dave H with his plea for sanity which I’m sure extends to our shores too for startups embarking afresh.

    Will there ever be a solution to this whilst the protectionists and racketeers are behind the scenes of legislative procedure?

    Ah, sod this….I’m off to look for some more Creative Commons licensed music, this commercial© stuff really sucks….

    Kevin P – 28 June, 21:26
  138. anonymous
    28 June, 23:00

    A well-stated argument, Last.fm. I disagree with it, but you’ve expressed your position well.

    anonymous – 28 June, 23:00
  139. Spacepasta
    29 June, 15:56

    I felt like applauding when I read your argument.

    Nice one.

    Spacepasta – 29 June, 15:56
  140. Ward Bones
    30 June, 09:09

    Ya’ know, my family is mostly English and traces their roots back to the pilgrims and yada-yada, what I find so refreshing in this article is that commercialism isn’t seen as inherently bad. Perhaps there are some struggles but it’s all internal, good people [emphasis] negotiating [/empahsis] with good people to find a way to work together. No big protest or line to be drawn, just a step to be taken towards success for both parties. Is this a British thing? If so, I think Mary Bones and her ill husband (no name on the ship roster) might have made a really massive mistake.

    Best wishes and thanks for a bit of sanity in these troubled times (yes, it sounds overstated but verses squabbling over stuff like this when we’ve got so many real problems; I think it’s reasonable.)

    Ward Bones – 30 June, 09:09
  141. Orlando
    30 June, 17:26

    Way to go last.fm! Finally someone that speaks with sense! I’m happy to be a last.fm user.

    Orlando – 30 June, 17:26
  142. Quiplash
    1 July, 02:02

    I just wanted to say three things:

    1. A big thank you to the Last.fm team for actively participating in this comment thread. Many other Internet companies I can think of would not make this effort. This is one of those things that has not changed since Last.fm was just a small start-up and we could chat (and report bugs) online with RNR or Russ via IRC.

    2. I understand that people feel strongly — VERY strongly — about the community they created. This is similar to the uproar when Flickr forced its “old skool” users to get Yahoo! accounts not too long ago. And they lost users over that too, just as some Last.fm users are jumping ship now. Last.fm needs to keep in mind that, with ANY social networking system where THE USERS CREATE AND INTERWEAVE THE CONTENT (i.e. scrobbling data), there is a much stronger sense of ownership or partnership in the service.

    3. And somebody said this earlier, but it bears repeating: the Last.fm team needs to eat, people. I think it is inevitable that Internet start-ups eventually get bought up by bigger companies with more resources, who can help the company grow to the next level. It is not so much a selling-out as a growing-up, a maturing. Jesus, you can’t be six people in a rat-hole office forever and expect to handle the growth the way Last.fm has.

    Anyways. I have been with Last.fm for 2-1/2 years now, and I love this service! It just keeps getting better and better.

    Quiplash – 1 July, 02:02
  143. Stan Williams
    2 July, 18:36

    Way to Go! last.fm ! I applaud your decision.
    Pessimism can be self defeating.
    I say never give up till theres nothing left To give up on, then grab another thing and go again. :)

    Stan Williams – 2 July, 18:36
  144. Warren
    3 July, 04:04

    “America wouldn’t have done it for us, so NYAH...” Great argument…what ARE you – 6?

    Maybe you should stop playing anything other than British music to the British population just so you can be right and give your arguments any sort of credibility. Imagine…not a spare thought for your users – wherever their country of origin – just your own self-interest.

    And I’m one of the “international users” one of your daft enablers spoke of -not American.

    Still inexcusable. Still no longer a user – just curious as to what the backlash had been like since I last posted my thoughts and deleted my account.

    Warren – 3 July, 04:04
  145. haxx0r
    3 July, 17:05

    dis is all t3h c0nsp1racy by t3h r1aa. lastfm is teh trait0rrz zomg roffel

    haxx0r – 3 July, 17:05
  146. Anonymous
    9 July, 17:04

    I understand, but I hope web radio stays alive.

    Anonymous – 9 July, 17:04
  147. Aaron W.
    9 July, 22:25

    I have to disagree with Last.fm’s decision to accept this propaganda. If 100’s of millions of webcasters, artists, and listeners are crying foul…then perhaps something is wrong. This is a flawed decision by a corrupt group and backed by outdated legislation.

    After today’s announcement of a deal between Sony and Last.fm, it’s been confirmed that Last.fm has been bought.

    I’m sorry to say that I will never, ever, ever listen to a Last.fm stream again and I promise to demote the service.

    Aaron W. – 9 July, 22:25
  148. Nick
    10 July, 06:04

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist…this RIAA is the devil thing isn’t constructive.

    HOWEVER, the announcement of Sony/BMG deal with LastFM today makes perfect sense (and even confirms Russ’ post about “negotiating” being a factor in LastFM’s lack of participation in the DOS.)

    OK, so LastFM were negotiating with Sony/BMG when the DOS was going down. It wouldn’t do to mess with someone you’re negotiating with. Why not just say that instead of the “deal with it” argument? Oh, wait, probably because you’d‘ve had a worse backlash than now. Like I said before, this was all just damage control.

    It’s not so much that LastFM were negotiating with Sony/BMG and let the fact that they’d get favorable rates (in comparison to the CRB’s rates) get in the way of solidarity with this nascent industr y that bugs me.

    It’s the fact that they have the lack of foresight to see that the real $$$ isn’t with the majors and their attempts to introduce “DARK PAYOLA” (google that, you’ll be glad you did) but with niche markets and services that deal with indie content (eMusic, IODA et al)

    But most of all, their worth comes from their users. And they’ve betrayed them.

    Nick – 10 July, 06:04
  149. Matt
    10 July, 11:26

    Over the past six months we’ve also signed deals with Warner and EMI; this is core to our mission of being the last radio station you’ll ever need. In order to become that, we need to be able to play you music from every source, big or small, new or old.

    These deals had/have absolutely nothing to do with the Day of Silence and everything to do with us trying to serve our users by being able to play them more music.

    Matt – 10 July, 11:26
  150. MediaGuru
    10 July, 20:23

    Matt,

    Some food for thought. You do realize that by signing direct deals with labels rather than subscribing to the statutory licensing set by the CRB, you are, in effect, short changing the artists and handing greater control over net radio to the major labels right?

    See, Labels that negotiate direct deals are under NO OBLIGATION to split the proceeds of their deals with their artists (at least where the artists’ contracts do not state otherwise). The majority of that revenue stays in the hands of the Labels and the artists lose.

    In addition, what happens when you cannot negotiate deals with all the Indie Artists and labels that make Last.FM’s music so diverse? You’ll either have to pay the statutory rates, discontinue streaming Indie music, or face potential lawsuits from uncompensated artists.

    In the long run, Last.FM is committing to a future of homogenized radio, much like the current state of Broadcast Radio. Direct deals hurt everyone…Independent artists and labels, major label artists, the listening public, and stations like Last.FM. It’s the diversity and availability of niche music that makes Last.FM so popular.

    When you fail to negotiate all those deals (and believe me, it will happen eventually), and your offerings become less diverse, your listener base will move on to whoever offers what they’re looking for. Just look at the shift from broadcast to internet radio over the last 5 years. That should be the prime indicator that your business plan appears to be severly short-sighted.

    Best of luck…I think you will need it.

    MediaGuru – 10 July, 20:23
  151. needlegun
    11 July, 00:08

    Well well well…

    “Social music site Last.fm, bought in May for $280m (£140m) by CBS Corporation, has signed a deal with the Sony BMG record label.” [source BBC]

    No wonder Last.fm didn’t want to show solidarity with many independant internet radio stations on the day of silence, it would have jeopardized this latest deal! So it seems that Last.fm is now even more an instrument of the major record labels, and is less about the individuals and non-mainstream artists. With access to the whole of Sony’s catalogue, mainstream artists will dominate with independant artists & labels being marginalized even more.

    I had already decided that Last.fm is no longer for me and have let my subscription lapse. This just adds further support to my decision.

    needlegun – 11 July, 00:08
  152. KwangErn Liew
    11 July, 09:07

    Very interesting shift.

    I guess whoever did the strategy must have worked quite hard to get to this stage.

    You can’t possibly satisfy everyone…but there must be a point where a company should be satisfying the core users.

    I hope Last.fm haven’t lost their user-oriented focus.

    KwangErn Liew – 11 July, 09:07
  153. futang
    13 July, 06:36

    I knew Last.fm was shite shortly after installing it and its software wanted to monitor everything on iTunes. Removing it was a bit of a job, but I didn’t really feel like having every piece of music I listen to reported to the Central Scrutinizer.

    futang – 13 July, 06:36
  154. 4ntarctic
    21 July, 00:02

    boring. boring. boring.

    4ntarctic – 21 July, 00:02
  155. yassin
    5 August, 00:47

    This is article is easy to write when YOU aren’t at the face of bankruptcy.

    They would be begging their users in all and any ways possible if they wouldn’t have enough money.

    They also miserably failed to help their neighbor stations by not participating in the day of silence.

    Just try to imagine the numbers of visitors they could have launched to the SaveNetRadio.org website?

    They could probably have flooded the White House phone lines with so much calls that it would be in the news (which would encourage further more calls).

    Just take a look at the differences in traffic @ Alexa.

    yassin – 5 August, 00:47
  156. Dan
    9 August, 05:30

    I wonder how much bigger of a protest the Day of Silence would have been had something like the streaming of sports (e.g. MLB Radio) been part of it.

    I’d imagine there are a few more baseball fans than those tuning into SomaFM on Capitol Hill.

    Dan – 9 August, 05:30

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