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.