After continuously and gradually losing ground and (millions of dollars) to competitors, the once completely free Last.fm’s music streaming apps will now become paid ones (unless your a WP7 user). Last.fm claims it’s the world’s largest free music catalog, and as of next Tuesday, users who will want to stream music via the service to their mobile apps will be charged $3 per month.
Last.fm’s Windows Phone 7 app will remain free, but only in Germany for some reason. Last.fm follows the same format most of its competing music services use, though the new subscription model will further narrow its annual loss (which stood at about $4.5 million in ’09) is probably not good news for its share of the market. This latest move will mrely aid the competing Pandora to take a lead in the free streaming music market.
Incidentally, Pandora’s subscription costs $36 a year, the same amount Last.fm will, or at least intends to charge its Android and iPhone users with.
Last.fm lost million in 2009, but looking at a broader specturm of the market, Spotify lost much, much more than that in the same period. We mentioned how the UK based music streaming service and Last.fm competitor Spotify reported a record loss of $26.5 million for 2009. Around the same time cloud-based music service Rdio was launched in its first public beta, and a short while after Nokia reported it has pulled its free music downloads bundle in 27 countries.