Last.fm is adding a video section to its site this week, enabling users to create their own personalised video channels - similar to how users can already create radio stations based on their music tastes. Last.fm is partnering with major and independent labels for this. The company also claims that the quality of videos on its site "will be significantly higher than that of YouTube", with audio encoded at 128kbps compared to YouTubeÄôs 64kbps.Online radio station
Initially it will be mainly independent labels featured on the video Last.fm - such as Ninja Tune, Nettwerk Music Group, Domino, Warp, Atlantic and Mute. However among the rosters of those independents are brand name artists like the Arctic Monkeys, Moby and Aphex Twin. Last.fm has also made partnerships with big labels like EMI and Warner, along with "over 20,000 independent labels". Presumably videos from those labels will be added soon. All of this seems to be basically an extension of their existing radio music agreements - from which Last.fm has access to more than three million music tracks. Last.fm is hopeful of adding other big labels, particularly Universal and Sony Music Group. Negotiations are in progress now on that front.
What's most intriguing about this move is Last.fm's long-term goal for video. Last.fm aims to eventually offer its users personalised channels from "the largest legal catalogue of music videos on the web." And in case that's not clear enough, their press release concludes with this bold claim:
"Last.fm aims eventually to have every music video ever made on the site, from the latest hits to underground obscurities to classics from the past."
When I read that, I immediately thought of Last.fm as the Web 2.0 version of MTV! That certainly seems to be their goal, and good on them for setting their sights so high. The fact they have at least a couple of big labels on board already (EMI and Warner, both of whom already have agreements with Last.fm regarding radio music) and they seem to be in good negotiations with others (Universal and Sony) indicates that it's not an impossible dream. The Web 2.0 age needs a new form of MTV, so why not Last.fm to provide it!