It’s no easy task being in the shoes of Last.fm right now. The service has been around as a relatively free source for curated music for quite some time, and recently shifted to a paywall format for its mobile radio product.While the move has caused some to wonder exactly what Last.fm is up to, a recent interview that I had with the VP of Product for the service cleared up a lot of questions.

I’m spending some time this week with the updated Android and iOS players for Last.fm, and that’s going to formulate much of what I talk about in the interview piece this weekend. For now, you have your chance to use the updated apps, as well. The obvious change is that Last.fm now has a pause feature and it’s even included on the mobile apps.

It might seem like a small thing, but it’s part of a much larger picture, based on what I’ve been told. Last.fm knows that if it intends to charge for a product, then the product needs to be worth the money. Adding to that thought, the team has gone back to the drawing board somewhat on the Radio feature.

Up until now we haven’t surfaced why a particular song is being played to you, but that’s about to change with a little feature that puts some info text in the top left of the player.

The algorithm under which Last.fm’s recommendations work is truly amazing, in my experience. The service has paved the way for Spotify, Grooveshark and the rest, but it’s going to take things like this to keep it moving forward. The new information that’s being provided is a direct reflection of the genius behind Last.fm’s system.

 Last.fm: Deeper recommendation features, and now a pause button!

While playing your Library or Similar To selections, why something is being played is pretty obvious. But if you move into Friends, Neighbours, Recommended or Mix radio, you’ll now have access to a really cool section of information about why something is being played.

They’re a couple of steps in the right direction for Last.fm, and I’m happy to report that the’re a couple of many that the company is taking. For now, have a download of the latest Last.fm apps for iOS and Android, and of course check out the site too. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.