Last.fm has announced that the radio service built into its mobile apps and on home entertainment devices will become a subscriber-only feature on February 15, 2011. While this means the service will lose its ads, it will no longer be free: you'll have to pay $3.00/€3.00/£3.00 per month.
Last.fm Radio will remain free on the Last.fm website in the US, UK, and Germany as well as the Last.fm desktop app. Furthermore, Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 users in the US and UK will also continue to be able to use the service for free (we wonder how much Microsoft paid to subsidize the service to keep its users on the gratis side). Here is the list of devices and the associated subscription requirements that are affected by this change:
- Google Android - free app; subscription required for radio in US, UK, and Germany
- Apple iPhone - free app; subscription required for radio in US, UK, and Germany
- Microsoft Xbox Live (also with Kinect) - App free with Xbox Live Membership in US and UK
- Microsoft Windows Phone 7 - Free in 2011 in US and UK; subscription required for radio in Germany
- All Logitech Squeezebox products - subscription required in US, UK, and Germany
- All Sonos products - Free until mid-summer 2011 for US, UK, and Germany; subscription required thereafter
- Revo AXiS, Ikon, Domino, Heritage - subscription required in US, UK, and Germany
- Roberts Stream 63i, 205, Colourstream, 83i - subscription required in US
- M3 Muvid Products - subscription required in Germany
- Teufel Audio Raumfeld - subscription required in UK and Germany
- Selected Onkyo AV receivers - subscription required in US, UK, and Germany
- Denon and Marantz selected AV receivers - subscription required in UK and Germany
"On the Last.fm website an ad-supported, free-to-listeners model is what supports our online radio services in the US, UK and Germany," a Last.fm spokesperson said in a statement. "In other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience, but instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world. You'll see that this change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you to listen to music on mobile devices. For the cost of a fancy coffee, a Last.fm monthly subscription allows you to listen to radio across all platforms, on all your devices, and without commercial interruptions."