Friday, January 24, 2014

Last FM tries something else, hopes it doesn't smell desperate

Last FM hasn't exactly been thriving in the last couple of years, what with Spotify basically doing what it did, but much better. (Because, face it, if you want to hear the Dum Dum Girls, you want to hear the Dum Dum Girls, not a bunch of bands that other people who wanted to hear the Dum Dum Girls listened to when they weren't able to listen to the band they wanted to hear.)

But now, Last FM have revived their player. They've got a question to ask:

“Ever wondered what radio would be like with video?"
Well, no, because (i) that'd be MTV and (ii) that wouldn't be radio.

It's like asking 'ever wondered what a car would be like with two floors, eighty seats and a timetable which requires it stop every so often to pick up passengers', and hoping that people won't notice what used to be a car is now a bus.

So the player - or at least the beta version - is now throwing out YouTube videos instead of music streams. MusicAlly reframes the question in a more honest way:
Although from a business perspective, it’s more about wondering what a personal radio service would be like with YouTube absorbing the licensing costs.

In the UK, Last FM remains twice as popular as MySpace, but... well, that's not saying very much, is it? It's also more popular than kidney stones. But there's hope, reckons MusicAlly:
Plenty of work to do for a comeback, then, but it’s worth noting that if was launching in its current form today, as a YouTube-scraping personal radio service with big-data features in the background, it’d be all over the tech blogs as the Next Big Digital Thing.
Yes, because if there's one thing YouTube is lacking, it's access to a massive data-crunching operation crammed with detail about people's tastes and behaviour. If you ignore it being part of Google, obviously. If you factor that in, it's not entirely clear what Last FM might have to bring that's new.

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