Here’s a bit of happy music news amidst our usual sea of rampant piracy, DRM-shackled music and tough business decisions: the online radio station Last.fm is expanding with new mobile phone platforms.
An app for Android phones is now available. In addition to the usual suite of radio stations, users can personalize their streams, find new music by genre or similarity to other artists and get information on upcoming concerts. Music can also be played in the background while the phone is being used for other purposes.
Other mobile phones can start using Last.fm via Fring, an application that mobilizes various services such as Skype and MSN Messenger. The same system of custom-tailored playlists applies.
Both services offer Last.fm’s community features as well, allowing users to recommend songs.
Earlier this month, the company said unique visitors to its website in 2008 jumped 204 percent from the year before. Visits, page views and minutes spent on the site all increased as well. Whatever Last.fm is doing — it credits ad-supported content and its acquisition by CBS — is working.
Maybe this will convince Warner Music Group to jump back on board after pulling out last summer. The service is more successful in Britain, where more music is offered, than in the U.S. after all.