Last.fm, the U.K.-originated international online-music platform acquired last year by CBS, has big wraps on its new Build.Last.fm feature.
Ryan Regan, Last.fm’s financial officer and chief digital offer, says the new offering will benefit the music industry by luring more users to the main service in an organized way.
Ad-funded Last.fm currently boasts 21 million users globally and another 19 million that use its widgets on third-party Web sites.
It also features free, randomly distributed mini communities set up by Last.fm subscribers to recommend newly discovered music.
Build.Last.fm, however, was launched in March to organize and highlight those mini communities and attract other users.
“The ads sold around (Build.Last.fm) might not be a big revenue generator, but it doesn’t cost us too much either and brings in traffic,” he tells Billboard.biz. “And since it brings more people to Last.fm, the music industry will benefit from that.”
Among the Build.Last.fm communities he highlighted is IBM Rock, which enables employees at the computer-manufacturing giant to see the Last.fm playlist of colleagues in other IBM offices around the world.
Also included in Build.Last.fm is Tuneglue, a Last.fm joint venture with EMI Records that launched in 2006. Described as an “audiomap,” it is a visual representation of every possible link between all kinds of acts and labels.
Last.fm offers Build.Last.fm users basic low-cost online tools, such as widgets and its meta-data system for writing up playlists accurately, but not its expensive music-streaming technology.
“We wanted to open up more of Last.fm to the broader online community,” said Regan, who spoke at the May 15 “Online Publishers Association ’08: Forum of the Future” conference at London’s Landmark Hotel. “We don’t need to convert them to Last.fm (the main music platform) straight away, but over time.”