Custom Internet radio provider Last.fm on Thursday confirmed that passwords belonging to an unspecified number of it users have been compromised. “We are currently investigating the leak of some Last.fm user passwords,” the company said in a statement on its website. “This follows recent password leaks on other sites, as well as information posted online. As a precautionary measure, we’re asking all our users to change their passwords immediately.” The news comes just one day after LinkedIn confirmed an attack that saw passwords belonging to nearly 6.5 million members posted on the Web. Last.fm recommends that all of its users change their passwords immediately. More →
Web-based streaming music provider Spotify is reportedly preparing to launch a new service that will add new radio and content discovery elements to its portfolio. Citing multiple unnamed sources, Bloomberg on Thursday reported that Spotify is developing a new online radio service that will compete directly with Pandora. Due to launch by the end of this year, the ad-supported service will allow users to stream unlimited music through Spotify’s software, and the service may launch with new music content that is not currently available to Spotify customers. It is unclear exactly how the new offering will differ from Spotify Radio, which was unveiled late last year as an artist-based streaming radio service available for free to all Spotify users. The company’s current core product allows Spotify’s 10 million users to stream music from its online catalog in an iTunes-like player that also allows subscribers to search for content, create playlists and share content with friends. More →
Popular European streaming music service Spotify could launch in the U.S. as soon as next week, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka speculates. Spotify announced earlier this week that it would be taking its talents to the U.S., but it gave no indication as to how soon the launch might occur. AllThingsD says the smart money is on a launch next week, and the blog has historically been accurate with its coverage of the Stockholm-based music start-up. Kafka reaffirms that Spotify only has deals inked with three of the four major U.S. record labels, but he says a deal with Warner Music Group is close enough to being signed that it should be completed ahead of a launch next week. Like Microsoft’s Zune service or Rhapsody, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand, create playlists and more. The service uses a freemium model that permits ad-supported content to be streamed to desktop computers for free, and then offers mobile streaming, playlist sharing and sheds the ads for paid subscribers. Spotify has not yet revealed pricing for the U.S. market. More →
Custom music steaming company Spotify on Wednesday announced that it will soon launch its popular service in the U.S. The company has been rumored to be in negotiations with major U.S. music labels for more than a year now, and it looks like those negotiations finally panned out. “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.” In markets where the service is currently available, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand for free to PCs. For a monthly fee, the service adds additional features and supports more devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pricing and other details for the U.S. market have not yet been announced. More →
CBS-owned Last.fm announced on Monday that it will soon discontinue its free ad-supported streaming music service for cell phones and home entertainment devices. Last.fm is a custom Internet radio service that competes with the likes of Pandora and Slacker Radio. The service currently streams to computers, to cell phones and to various home entertainment devices such as DVD players and set-top boxes, with two available subscription models — a free ad-supported version and an ad-free version for $3 per month. As of February 15th, free streaming to mobile devices and to home entertainment devices will be shut off, with the exception of Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 devices, and only paid subscribers will be able to utilize the service. Delivering ad-supported streaming services to mobile and other non-PC devices is not practical, Last.fm stated in a blog post, so the company will no longer offer the option. Free ad-supported streaming to Last.fm’s website will remain, however, as will free streaming to the Last.fm desktop PC app. The shift in strategy now creates a new speed bump for the service, as Last.fm’s biggest competitors will continue to offer free streaming options for mobile and other devices. More →
We recently dedicated a Throwback Thursday to Winamp and, as many of you were quick to point out, the product is still alive and quite awesome. Today, via a blog post, Winamp maker Nullsoft reminded us just how awesome their product is with the release of a Winamp beta for Android. The media player, which will work on handsets running Android 2.1 or higher, offers: seamless synchronization with Winamp’s desktop suite, wireless syncing with your desktop, persistent player controls, widgets, and scrobbling with last.fm. Oh, and in case you were curious… the player still lets you know that it “really whips the llamas ass” when you first launch it. What are you waiting for? You know you’re curious. Hit up the Android Market, grab the goods, and let us know what you think.
It’s pretty incomprehensible that until about two weeks ago, I had never used a piece of Sonos equipment. Heard about it, and read about it? Sure, but never used it. What MP3s did for personal audio enjoyment 5 years ago, Sonos does for your home, office, or wherever you want today, ingeniously creating a seamless and practically unlimited expandable system. Sonos is literally one of the coolest things I’ve seen in years; not because they reinvented the wheel (even though they kind of did in some places), but because it works. More →
Possible new iTunes 9 screenshots depict Facebook social playlist integration, third-party device support
Ready for round 2, ladies and gents? A tipster just dropped a new handful of iTunes 9 screenshots in our inbox and while their authenticity cannot be confirmed, they’re certainly worth mentioning. Earlier this month we scooped a whole bunch of info surrounding the imminent release of iTunes 9 and this new round of screenshots, allegedly of an early iTunes 9 beta, may help support some of the info we exclusively detailed. The first notable feature depicted in the new shots is the Facebook integration. The images show the ability to create a new playlist and then share it on Facebook. The Facebook entry that subsequently appears on the user’s FB wall will include an iTunes link, presumably pointing to the shared playlist found on an iTunes page. Up next… How about some third-party device support? Yeah, very un-Apple but maybe Jobs & Co. have decided to turn over a new leaf. Again, these shots are not confirmed but the wait won’t be much longer — all will be revealed in early September when Apple holds its music event. Hit the jump for the images along with a screenshot of Facebook displaying a shared iTunes playlist.
Sad news from custom internet radio land as Last.fm announces some big changes that are sure to upset plenty of listeners. While the company has never provided an official API in the past, it has turned a blind eye to third-party developers with apps that stream Last.fm content to computers and/or mobile devices. No more — according to an official statement, the CBS-owned company will be releasing a formal streaming API and it will only be available to developers with an API account. Fair enough. The problem comes in with the following bullet point however:
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.
Last.fm traffic is up over 50 percent YoY and this is due in no small part to the release of its official iPhone application. As such, we imagine the company is well aware of the potential mobile streaming has. At the same time, Last.fm has plenty of bosses to answer to and we imagine this new policy was handed down from above. It is our understanding that apps such as Flipside for BlackBerry and other apps that only scrobble locally-played music will continue to operate just fine. The problem lies in apps like Mobbler for S60 and Pocket Scrobbler for Windows Mobile as they can kiss streaming functionality goodbye… Unless the devs can convince Last.fm to “make an exception”, ie fork over some cash to appease CBS. The iPhone and Android apps, for those concerned, will continue to work fine as they were developed in-house.
Fringers, start your updating. The Israeli mobile comms company has just announced the release of a new version of its popular application that brings Last.fm streaming and friend-monitoring to the fring app. Users can now enjoy custom streaming radio stations while chatting with friends without ever having to leave the fring application. All of your favorite types of Last.fm stations are available and Love/Ban functions are supported as well. Sweet! For the time being, Last.fm via fring is not available on the platform that needs it most – the iPhone – but hopefully we’ll see an update soon. Since S60 allows third-party applications to be minimized, Mobbler can easily be used to stream Last.fm while a user is chatting in fring. With the iPhone on the other hand, where the Last.fm app cannot be sent to the background while the user is fringing (yes, we know Backgrounder can remedy this on jailbroken iPhones), the addition of of Last.fm streaming would certainly be welcome. Hit the jump for a very peculiar video that sums up the latest version of fring nicely.
Two of the biggest names in the new wave of personalized internet radio, Pandora and Last.fm, have announced new mobile offerings this week that are sure to please subscribers. For those who aren’t familiar with these services, we’ll give you quick rundowns: Pandora is a free ad supported service (with an ad-free subscription option) that delivers custom radio stations based on the tonal qualities of each song. The user starts by entering an artist or song and Pandora continues the stream with songs of similar musical quality as determined by a panel of 50 analysts who have spent years listening to and cataloging songs. Last.fm on the other hand, is a similar free service (with enhanced subscription option) but it has a much bigger focus on social networking. It creates custom stations with similar tracks like Pandora, but relies on socially-applied tags when offering up new songs.
As we near the end of 2008 and approach the holiday season, layoffs get harder and harder to swallow. No one wants to close out the year with workforce cuts but sometimes it’s just inevitable. Such is the case with CBS Interactive, which announced internally yesterday that it would be undergoing a reorg attached to what is rumored to be just south of 300 layoffs. While CBS has not announced yesterday’s move publicly, the layoffs were estimated to account for between 10 and 14 percent of its workforce. CBS Interactive properties include CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, CBSNews.com, GameSpot, BNET, last.fm, TV.com and CHOW. Despite the fact that CBS Interactive’s combined traffic rose significantly in 2008 and its advertising has remained strong, those at the top have deemed yesterday’s cuts a necessity. Whether or not that is the case remains to be seen but what’s done is done and our sympathies go out to all those affected. Hit the jump for the full internal email from CBS Interactive head Quincy Smith and CNET boss Neil Ashe.
Talk about great reads. Muxtape founder Justin Ouellette finally let the cat out of the bag today and published a lengthy report of his recent trials and tribulations. For outsiders looking in, reading about dealings with the unmitigated disaster that is the music industry is like a guilty pleasure. Rage seems to build with each passing paragraph and one can’t help but think, “are they really this stupid?” Ouellette’s recount of his experiences in recent history fits the mold perfectly. The behind the scenes plan for Muxtape was anything but ill-intentioned; Ouelette had some pretty big ideas and spent a great deal of time reaching out to labels in an effort to move music consumption forward in a very symbiotic manner. In fact in the midst of an extended series of meetings with major labels that seemed to be progressing, albeit slowly, the RIAA struck without warning and dropped an axe that would force Muxtape to go offline. It registered a complaint with Amazon Web Services, Muxtape’s host, that required Muxtape to dump a launrdy list of content within one business day or risk having his data deleted and servers shut down. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ouelette has plans to relaunch as a service geared exclusively toward bands:
The new Muxtape will allow bands to upload their own music and offer an embeddable player that works anywhere on the web, in addition to the original muxtape format. Bands will be able to assemble an attractive profile with simple modules that enable optional functionality such as a calendar, photos, comments, downloads and sales, or anything else they need.
This is a far cry from the original Muxtape model and it will likely have a much more difficult climb in terms of being widely adopted. Here at BGR, we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for the relaunch and we wish Ouellette all the success in the world. As for the RIAA and music industry in general, it is becoming increasingly difficult to support any means of music distribution that puts money in their pockets. The dilemma of course is in order to financially support the bands you enjoy, you are also feeding the hand that bites. Talk about a catch 22. Whatever, music industry. Keep doing things your way because it seems to really be working out well for you. We’re sure people will be lining up in droves to buy music on microSD cards. You know, just like how we all went running out to get their hands on Ringles. That went over really well.
Do yourself a favor and hit the read link.