June 08, 2008

Warner Music (WMG) Pulls Out Of Last.fm (CBS) - wow! I just read this news on Silicon Alley Insider, and the NYT Bits blog (belatedly): Warner Music Group has pulled their music off the on-demand part of Last.fm due to... you guessed it, conflicts over how much money they are going to get for graciously allowing Last.fm to 'use' their music with permission while there are 100s if not 1000s of other streaming on-demand whatever they feel like, without any considerations to WMG or any other label whatsoever. Peter Kafka (who covers this space with great skill, btw) writes: "Warner Music Group (WMG) has pulled its catalog out of Last.fm's "on demand" free streaming service, which the CBS-owned service launched to great fanfare in January. Users can still hear Warner artists via the site's "radio" option, which doesn't allow you to select individual songs. But you can't order up individual songs from WMG artists...." see below. The NYT blog adds: "Big surprise: The issue is money, according to two executives briefed on the negotiations. When Warner’s contract with Last.FM came up, the label wanted more money than CBS is willing to pay. Warner’s view is the existing deal had “come up short,” said one of the executives. Other similar services, such as Imeem and the forthcoming MySpace Music, offer richer deals, in Warner’s view. (The dispute doesn’t relate to the “Internet radio” aspect of Last.FM, in which users can’t select which exact songs they want to hear.)" My take: clearly, once again, this is yet another occasion of a major record label exploiting market weaknesses, the lack of licensing standards and their perceived gatekeeper position to extract ever more money from a completely nascent ecosystem that only exists because some other large company is investing it it, in the first place! Keep in mind that Last.fm's users aren't paying for...

Gerd Leonhard

Keynote Speaker, Think-Tank Leader, Futurist, Author & Strategist, Idea Curator, some say Iconoclast | Heretic, CEO TheFuturesAgency, Visiting Prof FDC Brazil, Green Futurist

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