LAST.FM LAUNCHES LARGEST GLOBAL FREE-ON-DEMAND MUSIC PLATFORM
NEW YORK and LONDON, Jan. 23 - Last.fm (www.last.fm) today announced that it is launching a service to allow anyone to listen to music on the site for free.
Last.fm has become one of the leading places in the world where people can go to listen to music online. Its vast library has attracted a community of more than 20 million unique monthly users in 240 countries around the globe. The heart of Last.fm is a powerful recommendation engine that guides listeners to music they are likely to enjoy based on prior selections, connecting them with the music they love and with others who share their tastes.
In launching this service, Last.fm becomes the first music Web site to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music built on partnerships with all four major record labels - including Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI - as well as CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists.
Last.fm's free-on-demand service will be advertiser supported, allowing clients many unique opportunities to reach a highly targeted and engaged audience.
Last.fm was acquired by the CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) on May 30, 2007.
"It is clear to us that communities built around great content are increasingly driving traffic and revenue online," said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of the CBS Corporation. "We acquired Last.fm because music is one of the best ways to build communities on the Internet. Adding such a tremendous collection of content to Last.fm will help it grow by leaps and bounds. The skill set that we're learning along the way will be very important as we build additional online communities around our other world-class content as well."
Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said: "We're giving the listener free access to what is basically the best jukebox in the world. The ability to dip into such a uniquely broad catalogue from your laptop, home or office computer, and listen to whatever you want for free represents a new way of consuming music that in turn might change the way you listen to music. In that respect, nobody else can currently offer what Last.fm is offering right now."
At the same time, Last.fm is launching an unprecedented "Artist Royalty" arrangement, whereby those artists not signed with a label who choose to upload their music to Last.fm will receive payment, directly from Last.fm, every time one of their tracks is played. This means artists without traditional recording or publishing deals will be able to reach millions of music fans, offer their music for free, while generating revenue.
"We're building a platform to help redesign the music economy, enabling artists and labels to earn revenue according to how people listen, rather than how they buy," said Last.fm's other co-founder, Felix Miller. "Now we can offer the arrangement to unsigned music creators too. For the first time, anyone can upload tracks and get paid when those tracks are played. It's a whole different model - one that benefits the artists, labels and advertisers - but most of all the listeners."
Launching today in the US, UK and Germany, Last.fm is scheduled to roll out the free-on-demand service globally in the coming months. All tracks can be streamed for free up to three times each. At that point, the listener has the option to purchase the song for download via any of Last.fm's affiliate partners including iTunes, Amazon and 7 Digital.
Founded in 2002 in London, Last.fm is the online, social music revolution that connects people with music and artists with listeners. By joining the Last.fm community, music fans can choose to share their music preferences by linking their media player to the Last.fm database. This database is populated continually with over 600 million monthly track submissions from Last.fm music fans. As a result, Last.fm can intelligently recommend songs, artists, local concerts and even other members based on their musical tastes. Thanks to partnerships with EMI, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, CD Baby, independent aggregators The Orchard and IODA, and more than 100,000 independent musicians and 20,000 labels that upload music directly to the site, Last.fm can draw recommendations from one of the most extensive online music catalogues. Learn more about Last.fm at http://www.cbspressexpress.com
About CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation is a mass media company with constituent parts that reach back to the beginnings of the broadcast industry, as well as newer businesses that operate on the leading edge of the media industry. The Company, through its many and varied operations, combines broad reach with well-positioned local businesses, all of which provide it with an extensive distribution network by which it serves audiences and advertisers in all 50 states and key international markets. It has operations in virtually every field of media and entertainment, including broadcast television (CBS and The CW - a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), cable television (Showtime and CSTV Networks), local television (CBS Television Stations), television production and syndication (CBS Paramount Network Television and CBS Television Distribution), radio (CBS Radio), advertising on out-of-home media (CBS Outdoor), publishing (Simon & Schuster), interactive media (CBS Interactive), music (CBS Records), licensing and merchandising (CBS Consumer Products), video/DVD (CBS Home Entertainment), in-store media (CBS Outernet) and motion pictures (CBS Films). For more information, log on to http://www.cbscorporation.com/.