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Latest rumor: LastFM Being Picked Up By Viacom

 
  • Latest rumor: LastFM Being Picked Up By Viacom

    Ok, this rumor has been floating arround for the last couple of days, so I thought it would be good to post it here and let the last.fm community voice their opinion.

    DealBreaker.com has published an article about a possible acquisition of Last.fm by Viacom. The purchase price is said to be $450 million USD.

    From the article:

    Viacom executives are in London negotiating the purchase of LastFM, the London based "online social music network" (read: internet radio station), according to a music business source familiar with the negotiations. The purchase price is said to be $450 million dollars.

    Viacom has been reportedly looking to expand its online presence. Reports have claimed that Viacom executives were disappointed that they did not pickup YouTube. LastFM recently signed a deal with Warner Music Group giving the internet radio station the rights to play WMG's entire music catalog. Shortly before YouTube signed its deal to be acquired by Google, the video sharing network signed several rights deals with video content owners. There has been some speculation that LastFM's recent dealmaking might have cleared the way for an acquisition by a larger media or internet company.

    Neither Viacom nor LastFM returned calls this morning seeking comment on the rumor.


    Okay, so here're my two cents... Although I do understand that most privately-held companies would love to sell out early and make their start-up effort "worth the trouble", I really don't like the idea of an indie site like last.fm being taken over by a corporate giant like Viacom. These greedy bastards don't give a shit about music, or user's opinion while we're at it - their main focus is market share.

    What are your thoughts about this?

    • Excrono sa...
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    • 23 feb 2007, 05:15
    I would say this would be vary bad. To echo your comments and those in the blog post, this would most likely transform the site into something very shallow (and ad-driven.) I would honestly consider leaving Last.FM if they started focusing less on the actual content of the site and more on their bottom line.

    Hopefully, this doesn't turn out to to be true.

  • If this happened, I wouldn't stop using last.fm, but I would cease my premium subscription.


    Official Anti-Isreali Venom Dog and General Wacko!
    AntiOxymoron/LonerRD: "Free speech is not acceptable"
    • Trilogy sa...
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    • 23 feb 2007, 14:01
    I have to agree. I wouldn't be giving my money for some big company who are just too lazy to build their own "web 2.0" service...

  • Me three I will cancel my subscription to, period.

    Nothing changes, nothing moves.
    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 00:25

    Do you think you're going to have a choice? I would think again!

    Hmmm, did it ever dawn on people that you may not have the choice of cancelling your subscription? My bet is that if this deal goes through, Viacom is going to make subscriptions manditory. They aren't going into this because they love music. Believe me, It's about the almighty $$$$$$$$.

    I would add.. if someone offered me $450 million I would be hard pressed to say "NO". That's a bit more than "chump change". Sure, I would hate to see it happen, but who could blame the hard working start up people on Last.FM They have worked very hard since the good old "Audioscrobbler" days. I would miss them all terribly.

    In the business world, it's called "PROGRESS". I'm happy for Last.FM, but sad for us. Guess it's the way of the world, but it doesn't make me like it.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 24 feb 2007, 00:57
    ALLAH IS THE ONE TRUE GOD.

    • Waqcku sa...
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    • 24 feb 2007, 01:25
    It would suck. A lot. I don't know for sure how things would change, but I have an inkling sensation that somewhere, somehow, it'll all go down the drain. Look at how whored out MySpace has gotten since Fox picked it up...

  • Indie? Bah... Look at the charts and you'll see how whored up last.fm already is. We all knew it was just a matter of time.

    $450 million???? They'd be stupid not to take it, provided that the sale contract doesn't make them indentured servants to the corporate entertainment devils...

    ♪d(^_^)b♪
  • Hm, I did notice that 'controversial' tags (eg: 'porn', 'queer', 'masturbation' etc) aren't shown in the client anymore..

    They started hiding these when they began linking to Amazon.
    Obviously Amazon believes that negative tags scare off customers and, shockingly, LastFM was willing to give in.

    Like Zappa said: 'We're only in it for the money' 'strictly commercial'.. Zappa was joking, I think LastFM isn't :(

    -Sorry for my bad use of grammar... Just woke up (still feeling wasted) and English isn't my native language-

  • SoylentBlack said:
    Indie? Bah... Look at the charts and you'll see how whored up last.fm already is.


    Charts are (meta-)created by the users, not Last.fm. The rising popularity of the site in the last year or so brought more "mainstream" listeners to last.fm, which IMO is a good thing - they make last.fm more profitable & allows them to grow, while not influencing the site's experience of the users who are more into underground/independent labels.

    And for what it's worth, many indie/underground/non-commercial bands are present & streamable on last.fm. They (last.fm) are quite open to independent labels, giving them the opportunity to upload their music and sell it through Amazon. What's even more, they push those tracks more aggressively through the recommendation radios (at least this is the case with my recc. radio).

    Finally, last.fm's staff has been very approachable and down to earth - they are constantly visiting the forums and often give first-hand information about things going on internally.

    So I guess this is as 'indy' site as you can get at these days of web 2.0 dotcoms ;-)

  • SeattleRain said:
    Hmmm, did it ever dawn on people that you may not have the choice of cancelling your subscription? My bet is that if this deal goes through, Viacom is going to make subscriptions manditory. They aren't going into this because they love music. Believe me, It's about the almighty $$$$$$$$.

    I would add.. if someone offered me $450 million I would be hard pressed to say "NO". That's a bit more than "chump change". Sure, I would hate to see it happen, but who could blame the hard working start up people on Last.FM They have worked very hard since the good old "Audioscrobbler" days. I would miss them all terribly.

    In the business world, it's called "PROGRESS". I'm happy for Last.FM, but sad for us. Guess it's the way of the world, but it doesn't make me like it.


    I miss the Audioscrobbler days. I long for the white page, with blue stat-bars, and a hint of lag. Lastfm has always been a warm site, run by honest people who just love music. From the days of donations for more servers, and weekend downtimes...to progress of $450 million?

    I have mixed feelings, as well. I always took pride in being a member, joining somewhat early in the site's history, and watching it grow to where it's at today. I will gladly pay the subscription for as long as I can, cos the hard-working folks from AS are just that cool...they deserve such a reward.

    But at the same time, it's hard to think of the dynamic if they are bought-out. This would mean more regulations/restrictions, possible mandatory subscriptions as mentioned above, and a change in our community. We've all been a part of this site - it's like a local business that we all support, so in a way, it's our own personal corner of the internet superhighways...I don't want to lose my corner, I feel safe in my corner. :(

    Regardless of what happens, all of you on Lastfm are awesome. Running into like-minded folks who love music, whether they hate my taste or not, I always have a blast talking/debating with everyone! You guys rule. :)

    • Hookie sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 13:58

    Well tickle my grapefruits.....

    I would have to say that if it's true then it's hardly surprising. That’s how the market goes something good comes along and starts making ground, a lager company will see this and will want to corner that market. And so they approach and so it begins.

    I have been with other music sites and now I just don’t bother. When I found last.fm I thought this is a breath of fresh air, and the people I have met and talked on here are just in my view fantastic.

    To subscribe on here is hardly a king’s ransom but I would suggest this will probably change if last.fm is sold. The give us your money attitude will more than likely take over. I think Seattle rain is quite right 450 million is a lot of dosh my fellow muckers....

    AD-Serg
    • Hookie sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 14:00

    oh yes....

    oop's

    sorry aboot my smelling mistooks.... :D

    AD-Serg
  • "The Social Revolution", what did they really mean by this? ;)

    Nothing changes, nothing moves.
    • Quiplash sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 16:15

    Last.fm/Viacom: a lesson from Flickr/Yahoo!

    When seattlerain told me about this thread and I started reading, the first thing I could think of was what happened when Flickr was bought by Yahoo! Many of the things mentioned in this thread (most particularly the sense of community and camaraderie in Last.fm) are things that people worried about upon Flickr's acquisition.

    Well, the acquisition has been a mixed blessing. While Flickr is now much more stable due to the hefty resources Yahoo! can provide, there has been a very real feeling among the "old skoolers" that the sense of community was gone. This all came to a flashpoint when Flickr announced that all its users (even the "old skoolers") were going to be forced to get Yahoo! accounts in order to sign into Flickr. It didn't help that, at the same time, Yahoo! started a Wii portal that used Flickr pictures tagged as "wii"...even the ones marked as Creative Commons Non-Commercial or copyright the photographer. (This caused an uproar, but the issue has since been fixed.)

    To put it bluntly, Flickr lost trust. Flickr users see the site as a "container", full of THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS. Flickr would be nothing without its users and their input, just as Last.fm would be without its users who are willing to share their listening habits.

    Last.fm would do well to STUDY the whole Flickr/Yahoo! issue carefully. There are some very important lessons to be learned here about betraying the trust of users who use a "container" website. If a rumoured purchase by Viacom turns out to be true, then they are going to have to navigate some very tricky waters in order to keep the good-will and faith that many people have invested in this Amish-barn-building type of service.

    One final note: Viacom did acquire MySpace, and it seems that MySpace has not changed significantly (although I'm not the best judge; I don't use MySpace very much).

    --Quiplash (Ryan Schultz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada).

    • vate sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 18:04

    mp3.com v2.0?

    I hope it doesn't end as how mp3.com ended in 2001-2002. I hope last.fm remembers that it has also been made from the contribution (not only economic) from its users.

    Just in case:

    http://www.jamendo.com
    http://www.dogmaziq.net

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 20:43

    MP3 scenario?

    Just as Vate says: this brings the old mp3.com story back in memory.
    Vivendi thought they had bought the goose with golden eggs. Once they found out the goose was laying just little eggs, they dumped it.

    I hope I am wrong, but I fear the worst.

    • IanAR sa...
    • Användare
    • 24 feb 2007, 21:55

    CC & What's Being Bought?

    Quiplash said:
    It didn't help that, at the same time, Yahoo! started a Wii portal that used Flickr pictures tagged as "wii"...even the ones marked as Creative Commons Non-Commercial or copyright the photographer. (This caused an uproar, but the issue has since been fixed.)

    To put it bluntly, Flickr lost trust. Flickr users see the site as a "container", full of THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS. Flickr would be nothing without its users and their input, just as Last.fm would be without its users who are willing to share their listening habits.

    Well put Ryan! Just as I was alluding to, over on Vate's journal entry, also ...
    I'd like to see the 450M USD offer expressed in terms of $/subscriber, $/user, $/streamable-artist, $/streamable-track and $/streamable-label. If you think about it, they're trying to buy quite some Rollerdex here. IMO, the tech' could be re-done better for less than 2M.
    - Best, Ian Viacom

    Edit: BBcode fix.

    Redigerad av IanAR den 24 feb 2007, 22:04
  • We'll have to draw the conclusions when/if it happens

    We all know the truth here; it's alright to be a little worried. What I don't think certain large powers-that-be realize is that if "groundswelling" phenomena like flickr, MySpace, and Last.fm are bought and overcommercialized to the point that nobody want them anymore, they lose their important content, and therefore, any remaining users that came to view the content without providing any. In the meantime, no law prevents us from creating rival websites that serve the same purpose, preferably in an even more innovative fashion, and with it, another groundswell to be bought out and swallowed...

    This is a very normal cycle in all of pop-art.

    Best wishes

  • I hope if they sell...

    that the crew with the money, make another one and better, the beyondlast.fm :)

    • Tr00st sa...
    • Användare
    • 25 feb 2007, 00:20
    SeattleRain said:
    Hmmm, did it ever dawn on people that you may not have the choice of cancelling your subscription? My bet is that if this deal goes through, Viacom is going to make subscriptions manditory. They aren't going into this because they love music. Believe me, It's about the almighty $$$$$$$$.


    If this happens, I guess some people will have to pool funds together and try to build an alternative from the ground up... How many of those who bought subscriptions would be willing to donate to an independent project? I would.



    Oh, and someone mentioned about the old audioscrobbler days... Reminded me of gerpok, which someone might find interesting.

  • Eh...doesn't viacom own MTV?

    Yeah...how about no?


    Viacom ruined TV for us (not just with MTV). Go away. Don't ruin the internet for us too.

    • mat35 sa...
    • Användare
    • 25 feb 2007, 18:34
    Hhhmmn, I don't think I'd leave, maybe stop my subscription, and d/l an ad blocker. And if they fucked the community up I'd probably just stop using the groups and stuff, but I'd still build/look at my charts. And if someone created a splinter site where you old last.fm charts/info when you create your account I'd probably think of joining that.

    Oh, The association with MTV would be a little scary imo. :s

    I was choking on a cornflake.
    You said have some toast instead.
  • One note, we live in a capitalist society, anything that is popular and investible WILL be bought nuff said.

    Nothing changes, nothing moves.
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