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

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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