Last.fm has had rather a bad day for PR, making two very big, very bad announcements for its consumers. First of all, the company announced in a forum post they're removing access to their API for third party mobile applications. That means that users of Mobbler on S60, Pocket Scrobbler on Windows Mobile, and FlipSide on BlackBerry devices will soon find themselves without a way of listening on the go.
The 'official' applications for the iPhone and Android will remain in action, which seems a little odd. If this is a licensing problem, surely the same rules are in place for whatever platform the content is delivered on? Relatedly, the service will also be stopping non-subscribers from accessing the radio APIs, simply because Last.fm wants more money.
Secondly, the company also announced in a blog post that it will begin charging for its previously free service outside of three countries - the UK, the USA and Germany. Customers anywhere else will be charged a fairly slim €3 per month for the service.
The company admits that the reason for this change is because it's having trouble selling ads outside of these markets. The UK, USA and Germany all have relatively mature ad markets, where funding the service through advertising alone is possible. Outside of these countries, though, the company is having trouble.
What will remain free for all users is the scrobbling aspect of the site - where it charts your music taste and allows you to compare taste with friends and other users, as well as the social network that sits on top of everything. Although I've never pushed very hard to fill out my friends list on Last.fm, it's grown incrementally over the years and now it's not too bad.
I'm deeply disappointed that I'll be losing access to Mobbler, even if it was a little rickety and didn't work properly on the bus. Let's hope that services like Slacker make their way over this side of the Atlantic sooner rather than later.
Last.fmforum and blog (via Gizmodo)
If your journey home last Friday involved traversing Liverpool Street station, you might have had some trouble. The London station was forced to close for an hour and a half, from 7pm, due to an 11,000-strong flash mob mimicking T-Mobile's recent adverts featuring silent dancers.
Are you listening to music? Turn it down, or off for a moment. Now go visit @tweejay on Twitter, and sing along in your head for a moment to whatever's at the top. Congratulations, you've just enjoyed the delights of Twadio.
It's the first 'silent radio station', where every five minutes, a song is posted. Listeners who sign up are notified via @tweejay, and across the world, the same song suddenly gets stuck in millions of people's heads. Brilliant, or an evil plot to get "U can't touch this" in your head? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Tweejay (via @dubber)
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Last time we heard from WowWee, they showed Ashley a robot at last year's CES. I guess they decided that there's not much money in robots, because this year they've got a bunch of cheap, tiny, but remarkably attractive projectors instead.
From left to right, there's the "Stick", which takes SD cards, but also has some internal memory, the "Station", which lets you both dock your iPod and display its contents, and the "Swivel" which has a 90° hinge, letting you project your videos skyward. It also packs a three-hour battery life, for those long sessions of lying on your back. No pricing or availability yet, beyond "2009".
Find more CES coverage here. Tempted? I sure am.
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