Last.fm to charge for streaming, cuts off third-party mobile streaming apps

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And so it goes. Last.fm, which just went to a pay-to-play model, is shutting down mobile streaming due to “licensing agreements.” This means unofficial Last.fm scrobbling and streaming apps will now be verboten – although for how long and to what degree are not clear.

The service will now cost 3 euros per month to users outside of the UK, US, and Germany and current subscribers will receive a 30-track trial.

Interestingly, the mobile changes actually address some non-public API calls that allowed software makers to stream Last.fm content relatively unpreturbed. The company said in a blog posting that these APIs will be closed.

The Future of Last.fm Radio APIs
As you may have seen on our blog, we’re making some changes to the way we structure our radio services.

Last.fm has never had a public radio API, although we’ve tolerated third-party clients using the undocumented calls that our client uses. This is finally about to change – we’re going to make a public, documented streaming API available to everyone who has an API account. There are a few limitations:

1. Only subscribers will be allowed to stream using API applications unless you negotiate a separate deal with us – we need to get the money to cover royalties.
2. You won’t be allowed to use our API to stream to mobile phones. This is unfortunately a limitation of some of our licensing agreements. Again, we may be able to make an exception to this if you talk to us directly.

These changes should be made by the end of next week. Alongside this, we’ll be shutting down the remainder of the old, undocumented streaming APIs over the next couple of weeks.

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