Various Positions

Monday, 3 September 2007
by hannahdonovan
filed under Announcements and About Us
Comments: 20

Yup, we’re hiring, and we pretty much need to fill all 17 positions. The following ones are the most critical, so consider these a jump to the top of the pile:

Why come to Well, first of all because we think it’s the place to be if you’re passionate about changing the world of music.

We’re not your regular web two-point-whatever company, and we never will be. We’re a passionate bunch of kids in East London that move and adapt quickly; what most people consider innovative is a standard day around here. We also have a singing microwave.

So what’s the catch? We get a lot of applications and reject most of them. (Also, most positions are only open to EU or work permit holders.) But the good news is: if you make it, you’ll be working alongside some pretty great people.

A look inside:

See all open positions

* Matt made me name this post after an old Leonard Cohen album. Dork.

Quick and to the Pointless

Thursday, 16 August 2007
by fiona
filed under About Us and Found On
Comments: 15

So far, it seems, our blog has been dominated by announcements, technical tidbits and various other odds and ends. Seeing as is actually meant to be about music we thought it was about time that we, your friendly neighbourhood Music Team, introduced ourselves. The rest of Last HQ may lead you to believe that we are somewhat of a side show to everything else that goes on here; but let’s face it, what would we be without the music?

An Introduction is and always has been dedicated to working closely with artists and labels, whether they are making music after school in a bedroom, releasing their first indie album, or are part of a major and selling millions of records a year. If you’re in a band, or run a label, you can join the family by registering for a music account.

Our mission then is to make sure you can hear anything and everything you could ever want to on If you consider how many labels, how many artists, how many albums and how many songs have ever been created you may be close to achieving some idea of the mammoth size of this task.

This is us. On the roof.

Matt H, Jonas, Stefan B, Fiona, Helen

A day in any one of our lives might include keeping artists and labels happy (as well as meeting new ones), getting CDs encoded and online, managing promotional campaigns and making sure everything is running smoothly. There’s also research to be done, contacts to be made, phones to be answered, the Music Manager to babysit, a forum to tend, blog posts and newsletters to construct, developers to bribe and perhaps most vitally, tea to be drunk and biscuits to be eaten.

Bands in Bath Tubs

We also like to think that due to the time we spend browsing various artists pages that we spot some of the best oddities on For instance, the vast quantity of photos of bands-in-baths that we spotted earlier today; Liars, Menomena, CocoRosie, The Unicorns, Xiu Xiu and our very own Matt H’s Everyone to the Anderson. He can’t explain it, anyone else have any ideas?

Other recurring themes we’ve spotted include swimming pools (Reuben, Blink 182, Nirvana), the four-way split (Interpol, Fugazi, Grizzly Bear) and the ubiquitous ‘standing in front of a graffitied brick wall’ shot (Pretty much every band, ever). This does beg the question is there such a thing as an original band photo?

My winners are probably Animal Collective, whose highlights include a theme park log flume photo. The Shins as sleeping super heroes and Modest Mouse just seem to take it to the next level by turning themselves into trees, or giants, or a museum exhibition… in the desert.

Vote For

Tuesday, 10 July 2007
by christian
filed under Announcements and About Us
Comments: 23 has been picked as one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites of the year! You can vote for us here – we’re currently top of our category (Audio & Visual), but face some hefty competition from the likes of LaLa, Veoh and, er, YouTube’s You Choose ’08 (not exactly a new website, Time, but hey…), so get voting!

And then afterwards you can watch a Time journalist getting destroyed by Bob Dylan back in 1965. Genius.

"Do Not Disturb Me, I Am Thinking"

Wednesday, 4 July 2007
by flaneur
filed under About Us
Comments: 19

A few months back, a renegade filmmaker invaded World Domination Headquarters. Armed with only a camera and a knack for bad timing (of course, we had to have some site downtime during his visit) he did a pretty good job at capturing a day in the life of Last.HQ.

The resulting video was posted online today, so meet the team:

Update: The embed above doesn’t seem to work reliably, but you can watch the full version here.

(Apparently the filmmaker isn’t responsible for the oh-so-inspirational music that got placed over the entire clip. Anil quickly dubbed it “The Winds of Change.” Ahhh, cheese. Not that we notice…um…music….argh.)

Speaking of video, music videos on can now play full-screen.

Make Some Noise

Monday, 25 June 2007
by felix
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. 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, 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. 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, 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 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 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 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.