Last.fm To Add “Play Direct” Indie Artist Program

But Don't Expect To Get Paid

10 days ago Last.fm dropped single track streaming pushing it off to scrobbling partners like MOG, Spotify and Hype Machine. Among those most impacted and vocally upset we're indie artists who had been gaining fans who used Last.fm as a music discovery platform. Music fans who wanted to know what Band XYZ sounded like could easily check out a full track on Last.fm and scrobble it straight onto their playlist.  Not any more.

image from www.alessandroraffa.itBut Last.fm has a solution coming to help out indie artists… to a point.  Unsigned artists who hold global rights to their music will soon be able to upload and offer full track streaming from their Last.fm pages. The feature will labeled as “Play direct from artist”, and the plays will scrobble via a new player. But as with Last.fm's former full-length preview option, these plays are considered promotional and don’t accrue royalties from their Artist Royalty Programme. Plays on Last.fm radio will continue to earn royalties.

"We hope this helps close the scrobbling loop for artists who can’t easily get exposure for their music on other services," sai
d Last.fm on their blog. Of course not getting paid won't help the artists pay the rent or for any of the other things they need to keep making the music that Last.fm profits from. But that's not their problem, is it?

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  1. “But that’s not their problem, is it?” You’re right. The blame for the financial struggle of artists should be placed squarely on a third party promotional witholding .002¢ per stream, not on freeloaders’ unwillingness to pay for something that takes hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars to produce.

  2. It’s a step in the right direction for indie artists on Last FM and frankly the royalty payments are so tiny they are barely worth considering for the vast majority of artists and labels that would benefit the most from this latest announcement.

  3. “yeah” is right. WHAT A LOOPHOLE AND SLEAZY move on last.fm’s part to avoid paying the artists.
    Boycott Last.fm

  4. myspace/imeem & last.fm were built on the backs of indie musicians, so it really bothers me when they screw them over like this.
    I guess we can’t forget that CBS bought them, so I shouldn’t have expected them to care.

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  6. No, Last.fm has ruined the experience for all of us long-time fans. Who wants to recommend a song to a friend now when they can only play a 30-second track. I don’t know what business reason is behind this decision but Last.fm is dying quickly for me. What was once fun and cool is now dull and corporate.

  7. Dude. Music is FREE. Its a promotional vehicle to win fans. Once you have fans, sell to them the items/experiences that they want from you. Make money off touring/merch/licensing. If you can’t or are unwilling to do so, get the fudge outta everybody’s way. PS: If your record is truly amazing, people will download it. Usually it is the FREE tracks that generate the most paid downloads/streams.

  8. What?! Music is a promotional, not-for-profit vehicle to effectively sell ancillary revenue items to your fans?!
    Sounds like Last.FM understands quite clearly how things in the industry are working right now. So long as the “promotional play” is the full-length of the track, I have no problem with this.

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