Content is functionality, people are distribution

CBS’ purchase of Last.fm, described as a social music recommendation system, for $280 million is a fascinating extension of their audience network strategy. PaidContent boldfaced the key quote from Last.fm founder Martin Stiksel to the BBC: “They want to move from a content company to an audience company, giving the audiences control and learning from this and that’s why Last.fm was their choice.”

Last.fm combines the notion of content as functionality — as I publish my list of what I’m listening to, the act of consumption becomes an act of creation; we all become radio stations — and people as distribution: the audience as network.

I saw this firsthand watching Jake’s Last.fm ap spread on Facebook: viral meets viral. In two days, his ap got 15,000 users without promotion and it’s killing his server (which, by the way, is one weakness of the Facebook platform).

: See also the Last.fm blog:

CBS understands the Last.fm vision, the importance we place on putting the listener in charge, the vibrant and vocal community, the obsession with music stats, and our determination to offer every song ever recorded.

  • http://none Martin Neimuller

    Jeff,

    I know this is off-topic, but what would you think if the United States Navy started building buildings shaped like swastikas?

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=32.676544,-117.156111&spn=0.004597,0.01075&t=k&z=17&om=0

  • Tom

    the act of consumption becomes an act of creation

    Another corker! Have you ever read a Brirish publication called Private Eye, Jeff? It’s a satirical magazine. I have a feeling some of your saying may end up in there. :-)

  • Paw

    One question one comment, Jeff:

    How do they make their money back? Do they take a piece of CD sales through the links? Didn’t see any visible advertising. They don’t own a label. Will they start to clutter the site with ads? Could that turn people off?

    Not sure this is particularly unique. http://www.bluebeat.com is set up in a similar way, with over 700,000 songs in their library. It’s internet radio, for sure, but you create the playlist, share it within the community and you can skip forward on the player if a tune bores you.

  • http://www.shootingbynumbers.com Peter Ralph

    Tom I know the publication and the corner of it you are referring to – thats not nice!

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