Yesterday, radio and television network giant CBS Corp. finalized its purchase of Last.fm, the world’s largest Internet radio and music community website, which sold for $280 million. Founded in 2002, Last.fm utilizes an inventive consumer platform allowing users to build playlists, which “audioscrobbler” technology studies to offer new, similar musical suggestions. The buy arrives less that one month after Last.fm’s initiative constructing music video playlists in much the same format as its audible music technology.
Furthermore, CBS’ acquisition marks the latest news in corporate media’s blitzkrieg surge of involvement in emerging technologies, including the rolling DRM-free movement and the ever burgeoning bandwagon trailing social networking websites’ monetary success. And Last.fm obtains a goldmine in advertising dollars. The music community’s website contains detailed information about each user’s specific music and media consumption, a priceless asset for marketers.
In light of this detail, users are clearly weary of the buy. And although CBS claims Last.fm will not undergo serious changes — the site will continue to be run by its original founders — thousands have taken to the web to sound off on Last.fm’s “sell out,” some worrying their harvested music collection will be tampered with, destroyed, shared over CBS’ wide platforms, or worse, utilized to open their own pocket books.
Here’s what bloggers are saying about CBS’s purchase of Last.fm:
“I have just been bought… along with my data. Will CBS keep it, take it, toss it out? Indeed, if you look around I have relationships with Google, Amazon, Last.fm, Digg and other sites. All this data is valuable to me and what might happen to it in a merger, take-over, bankruptcy?” — fils, douglasfils.blogspot.com
“Congratulations to the guys at Last.fm. I think it is a very smart move for CBS. Sure, more Last.fm’s will appear on the scene but one thing they cannot copy is the data of the listening habits of 15 million existing users build up over the last five years. What an asset, amazing.” — Carp, carpentier.wordpress.com
“The PERFECT Web 2.0 company might be one that unsubscribes users with a single click when their beloved social media organ is purchased by evil Big Media.” — Waxy, thelistenerd.wordpress.com
“You have to wonder if this giant social music network went for less than it might be worth. Sure other networks like MySpace have a lot more people and the ad revenue is substantially higher, but Last.fm has really useful information about what people listen to and when, which the likes of which MySpace simply doesn’t have.” — Charlie, nowax.co.uk
“Fuck. One of the better Web 2.0 sites is now owned by the RIAA… Very tempted to pull all of my stuff from Last.fm and close my account. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how this ‘partnership’ develops. ” — ShannonO’Neil, aliasfrequencies.org
“It pays to be sociable.” — PhilD, libraryhouse.net
Talk: What’s your take on the rash of corporate takeover of social networking sites?