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Last.fm Seals Deal With All Four Major Labels, Amazon Reaps the Benefits

January 24, 2008 10:30 AM ET

The arms race between the Amazon and iTunes digital music stores is heating up, thanks to an agreement made yesterday between the CBS-owned Last.fm and all four major record companies. As part of the deal, Last.fm will give users access to any song they like and stream it for free thanks to ad revenue that will come from page views and demographically-specific videos. Listeners are permitted three free streams per song, after which they are given the option of purchasing an mp3 of the song from the Amazon music store. The deal is a major coup for Amazon, as Last.fm's twenty million users will be directed to iTunes' biggest competitor as opposed to the Apple giant. While the Last.fm music catalogue has ballooned to 3.5 million songs, according to co-founder Martin Stiksel, "The mission is to have every track available." Last.fm is also reaching out to independent artists by adding an ad revenue plan that pays the artist a royalty for every stream they get.

Related Stories:
Alternate Takes: Test-Driving Amazon's Music Megastore
iTunes Plus Subtracting Price, Adding Indies
iTunes Now Bigger Record Store Than Target, Amazon, Sam Goody

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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