Earlier today music streaming service Last.fm announced that, starting February 15th, the radio functionality built into mobile apps (for iPhone and Android) and home entertainment systems will become a subscription-based service with a $3 monthly fee. The service is currently free in various countries but ad-supported; next week, Last.fm Radio for mobile will become ad-free and offer users the possibility to create personalized stations basing on their music preferences.
The service will, however, remain free in some countries and platforms:
Last.fm Radio will remain free on the Last.fm website in the US, UK and Germany and for the US and UK users of Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 phones. We’ll also continue to offer radio for free via the Last.fm desktop app.
The mobile music streaming landscape has become very competitive over the past months thanks to services like Spotify and MOG that provide access to large music libraries either for free or through a Premium subscription, like Spotify -- which is still struggling to find its way in the U.S. market. And always in the United States, Rdio has recently revamped its website with lots of different features and social functionalities, many of them accessible from the companion iPhone app.
Last.fm Radio won't provide users a choice to pick tracks on demand, but the offer is attractive if you're a heavy Last.fm user who has built a music library over the years worth connecting to the Radio service.