music-t-shirts-i-ve-always-wanted-the-smiths-there-is-a-light-that-never-goes-out-lyricsAs a journalist, I’m always interested in stories that are there for no apparent reason other than they can be. It usually means that a journalist finally gets access to a company or company big wig that they’ve been chasing unsuccessfully for a while, perhaps long after the reason for the original contact, or the company realises that it’s in danger of disappearing from folks’ radar and so the PR machine slips into gear.

When The Guardian takes time to profile a company like Last.FM, it’s a round-up after a period of intense activity, or the prelude to a period of intense activity. However, this piece, while interesting, is neither. Sure, there the whole did they/didn’t they give user data to the RIAA but that was a pretty flimsy excuse for such an article.

I’ve sat on this post for a few days as I pondered whether I was reading too much into the whole thing but then this afternoon came the news that the three founders are to leave the company. And, I’m not surprised, it felt like they had been treading, or been forced to tread water in a classic “small start-up is bought by big company and innovation is stifled by business planning etc”.

It’s a shame as the three – Martin Stiksel, Felix Miller and Richard Jones – have built one of my favourite digital music tools (I’ve been a member for 5 years) but it’s quite clear that their original vision is being sidelined by the corporate desires of CBS, which hopefully realises what a gem it has and will now begin to develop it further and integrate it into its range of products and services more fully.

The writing had been on the wall for a while with quite a few staff changes during the course of late ’08 and early ’09 but as I said, I hope Last.FM keeps going and growing as it is a damn fine thing.

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