Sony and popular music recommendation site Last.fm have signed a deal that allows Sony's entire catalogue of music to be streamed for free to users of the site. Last.fm takes note of music a user plays on their computer or iPod, then makes suggestions of other music that user may enjoy.
Having Sony's catalogue legitimately available means Last.fm users can be referred to Sony-signed artists, which may then generate a new fan and, ergo, subsequent purchases of albums. You know, like normal radio.
This fits in with the bigger picture of Last's rapidly expanding industry profile. US broadcaster CBS recently snapped up the London-based company for £141m, and it currently has 15 million active users based in more than 200 countries.
Although there's almost certainly no direct connection, the deal with Sony was announced soon after the site declined to take part in a 'Day of Silence', organised by the SaveNetRadio Coalition, which was backed by thousands of online streaming radio stations in protest of the Copyright Royalty Board's decision to charge Web radio broadcasters extortionate amounts of dosh to play songs. Broadcasters switched off their streams for 24 hours on 26 June in protest of the 300 per cent increase in royalty payments -- enough to obliterate smaller stations.
Earlier this year though, Last.fm inked partnership deals with Warner Music Group and EMI, showing again that the major labels are taking notice of the social revolution of Web 2.0 -- if only its major players. -Nate Lanxon