Last.fm has announced that as of today users will no longer be able to stream tracks on demand from the site.
While the company’s popular streaming radio service is unaffected, the ‘Play Now’ buttons that used to adorn many track pages are no more. Instead users will be pointed to other services, namely MOG, Spotify, We7 and The Hype Machine. Music videos will now be served by VEVO.
What’s funny is that Last.fm puts a positive spin on the change, despite the fact that this is essentially a cutback. In a blog post entitled “Yes It Does!” the company enthusiastically talks about the feature removal as a new feature that “goes live today!”
This positive, upbeat mood is likely to annoy loyal Last.fm users who have already seen the company remove free radio streaming all countries except the UK, USA and Germany. The fact is that Last.fm will be very pleased to shift the burden of streaming on-demand music. Serving up all those tracks will have cost money to Last.fm and the saving will help it as it crawls towards profitability.
The move also helps Last.fm focus on being a music discovery service. By way of demonstrating its renewed emphasis on listening data, rather than listening itself, the company has also today rolled out some new stats for each song, including a graph of listens over time and information about who is listening to the song right now.