Last.fm – my personal favourite among the batch of music-related social websites of the last few years – has finally been bought out by a large corporation. CBS, to be precise. Both parties have been keen to point out that Last.fm will maintain its own identity and current management team and will remain based in London.
On the face of it, this seems to be good news for all involved. CBS gets access to a key demographic for any broadcaster: the youthful music-listener with too much time on their hands; Last.fm gets tons of cash to bolster and speed-up its already impressive rate of development, as well as giving it some extra clout at the negotiating table; which means that music fans are likely to end up with more music and video available at Last.fm, meaning higher ad revenues for CBS.
The identity of the buyer has surprised some commentators. Most of the rumours up to now have involved media giant Viacom (MTV etc). Others have been surprised by the amount of money paid for the site (about $280 million). But with all the acquisitions currently going on across the web, are we really looking at another bubble? I wouldn’t bet on it. Last.fm, Feeburner, MySpace et al. all have huge user bases and hold a real value for their respective patrons. This looks less like a bubble than the coming-of-age of social media. I’m siding with Fred Wilson on this – he reckons that $280 million might seem pretty cheap in a few years time.