A couple of months back this thread started on a last FM’s forum. Today I noticed that last.fm in conjunction with Mozilla is sponsoring an event that celebrates five years of Creative Commons.
Now if an artist, label or publisher tags their song with the words Creative Commons, the song goes into the Creative Commons charts. Read this thread for more information. For now artists or net labels are not able to upload using any type of Creative Commons licenses; a Creative Commons chart within last.FM’s system is a good step forward.
How last FM works ?
Type in the name of your favorite artist… into the last FM search engine. You are then taken to a page that says “Now playing:… Similar Artists”. The first track you listen to is the artist you choose, then to similar artists, example. The user has the option of clicking on a heart button to say weather they like the track playing or not, by doing this you create your own play list. The next artists playing is a different artist and so on. Each band or artist playing has a buy link that the listener can visit. Last FM has no advertising brakes, this sets last.fm apart from all other forms of music radio media.
Last Fm’s revenue comes from banners and preferences given to content played.
Information from last.fm’s website.
* 100 impressions for $20.00
* 500 impressions for $100.00
* 1,000 impressions for $200.00
* 2,000 impressions for $400.00
Book a Powerplay campaign to target a set amount of radio plays for a track to a specific group of users. After you’ve run your Powerplay campaign, you will be able to access statistics of how your track has been received.
Pay and be heard.
Artist’s label’s and publisher’s are able to “pay and be heard” on last FM. In Australia it is illegal to “pay and be heard” on radio. Its the responsibility of a programmer to decide what is played and what is not. A publisher, artist or label is able to bring content to the station. Its upto the radio network to pay the programmer to do her or his job. Last FM may be just a little closer to the reality of the music business.
Rights for use of content?
Last.fm have to pay the rights organizations for use of content, last.fm does not ask the artist when they become a member of their service, if they are a member of a rights organization or not. This means last.fm most likely pay a blanket license fee for the use of content. When an artist not with a rights organization is being played on last.fm, last.fm still pay for use of that content. Its possible that a fair chunk of last.fm’s revenue goes towards paying rights organizations. How are the rights organizations going to react when Creative Commons content is played via last.fm in non-profit spaces. If these organization only play content from the CC last.FM charts they be in a situation where they would not have to pay for use of this content.
A self publishing artist using last FM, why?
The last.fm system looks to support the established publishing/label industry. The system gives the opportunity for un-known artists to tap into the fan bass of a well-known established artists with a similar style and possibly sell music through i-tunes, paypal, cdbaby, amazon…. For an artist to be heard beyond the community of people that she or he comes in direct contact with, seems to be an expensive process. Creative Commons charts could change this.
Free culture & rights organizations?
People like music without hearing advertisements. With wifi moving everywhere is last.fm going to last? As the last.fm system gets more and more popular, the cost for the use of content might go up. Listening to radio without having commercial brakes gives last.fm a competitive edge in the market place, this might be seen as un-fair. Are publishers, artists & labels (companies that use banners) going to bring in enough revenue to pay for the use of this content? Could last.fm be shut down by the right organizations?
The music business looks to have turned from the exploitation of the public for revenue to that of the “self publishing” artist. The explosion in artistic content created, fueled by the net and an explosion in technology, makes the exploitation of unrealistic dreams a good business. Its good business for the music business to maintain low standards of content within the market. “Pay and be heard”, pay this and our festival might consider you for a performance. Pay 20 dollars for your song to be reviewed. Put three songs on an album written by famous artists so public might find your content on i-tunes. Where does free-culture fit into all this?