Radio Announcement Revisited

Monday, 30 March 2009
by rj
filed under Announcements
Comments: 661

Since our announcement last Tuesday about starting to charge users €3.00 per month for listening to the radio in countries other than the USA, UK and Germany, we’ve received a lot of feedback. It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly, and I want to explain why we came to this conclusion and answer some common questions.

Last.fm Radio has always been ad supported, which means we sell ads on the site to cover the cost of running the service and paying the music licensing fees. If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on the site you’ll know that the Last.fm community is international to the extreme – we are made up of people from practically every country in the world. Last.fm is a better place for it.

However, we simply can’t be in every country where our radio service is available selling the ads we need to support the service. The Internet is global, and geographic restrictions seem unfair, but it’s a reality we are faced with every day when managing our music licensing partnerships.

We’re listening and we’ve postponed the date on which radio will become a subscription service outside the USA, UK and Germany. In the meantime we’ll be squeezing in some additional improvements based on your requests:

  • Gift subscriptions: you’ll be able to buy a subscription for a friend
  • Updating developers using our Radio API: third-party apps that stream Last.fm Radio will have full access to the Radio API, so streaming will work provided the user that logs in is a subscriber. (All other APIs remain free/unchanged)
  • Investigating alternative payment options. If Paypal sucks in your country, or you don’t have a credit card, don’t despair. Based on feedback so far, we are looking at supporting pay-by-SMS, and possibly some other options. Can’t promise we’ll have support for everyone’s favourite payment system from day one, but we’ll do our best to make it easy for you.

As soon as we’ve completed the upgrades noted above, we’ll move ahead with the transition. Thereafter, radio in the USA, UK and Germany will remain ad-supported, and radio in other countries where it’s not feasible to have an ad-supported service will be moving to a subscription service.