Steerpike – subscriber – but not for much longer.

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A bombshell email from team Last.FM today.  Their radio streaming service offers to me as an Italian subscriber will no longer be available as of January 15.

This massive change also affects services in Spain, France, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and China. the official explanation is that it’s “because of licensing restrictions”  but unofficially it is the inevitable consequence of a CBS takeover some years back.

What started as a genuinely altruistic service to music fans worldwide has been sucked into a faceless corporate  conglomerate.

The other key changes to the rest of the world will be  that in the USA, UK and Germany, desktop radio is to become a subscription feature although for those who live in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Brazil there will be no significant changes to the service.

The Last.Fm announcement says that subscribers include ad-free browsing on the site, access to demos, “and other features we’re working hard to add.” – doesn’t that sound enticing!!   The fact that the e-mail offers a direct link to enable me to cancel my subscription with a refund says it all really .

I’ll continue to scrobble as it’s a good way of seeing my listening habits presented online – I also like checking what ‘friends’ and other users are into. Otherwise for  me as a subscriber since December 2004, this is the end of an era.