I’ve been a big fan of Last.fm since joining the site in July 2003. I can’t believe it’s been four years. In fact, now that I think of it, Last.fm was probably the first social network I joined – right before joining Friendster and LinkedIn and a while before joining MySpace. If you’re a Last.fm user and want to connect, my profile is here.
There are many things to admire about Last.fm. First, it’s a pioneering service that’s made for die hard music fans. However, unlike most services built for enthusiasts, it has attracted a huge audience – 15 million registered users. Second, it has achieved its wild success legally. That’s no
small feat in the digital music sector, where companies often color
outside the lines (or blatantly infringe on copyrights) in order to
attract users. Third, its founders and team are extremely passionate about the product and the community, and it shows through. They have consistently innovated with new features and have led the way forward in social music. Fourth, they love eclectic, independent music and have used Last.fm as a platform to help people discover great underexposed artists. (Martin Stiksel, a co-founder whose profile is here, shares my passion for the many great underground electronic artists in need of greater visibility). Fifth, as I discussed in a previous post, they built this company in the edgy east end of London, far from Silicon Valley. There are many cases of Internet success outside the Valley, but what I admire is how Last.fm used its location as an asset rather than succeeding despite its location.
Lastly, even though you can tell these guys didn’t launch this business just to get rich, that’s exactly what they have done. They hit pay dirt today with a $280 million dollar acquisition by CBS. Congratulations to the whole Last.fm team for having a unique vision, creating something truly compelling, having a lot of fun, and getting handsomely rewarded in the process!