Last.fm has announced that it intends to start charging £3 a month to stream radio through its iPhone and Android apps.
The service will remain free until the 15th of February – next week – from when you’ll need to pay up each month if you want to use the service on your phone. Payments for the service are done via PayPal; head over to the Subscriptions page to fill in your details.
These monthly costs are being introduced to help turn “Last.fm into a bigger service that gives listeners the best music discovery experience anywhere” as well as “financially supporting and promoting the artists who make the music we love.”
Subscribers will also get access to a VIP Zone, where you can browse through visualisations of your listening habits like Music Universe (“a visualisation of your 2009 listening as a planetary system”) and Gender Plot (which tells you how many boys and girls listen to Led Zeppelin, Jenny Hoyston, or whoever).
We’d like to see some of these features accessible through phones or turned into homescreen widgets. For the price of “a fancy coffee” as Last.fm puts it, we’d hope to get a little more than than access to a service we’ve grown accustomed to using for free.
Though iPhone and Android users will have to pay £3 a month – roughly one third of a Spotify subscription – Windows Phone 7 users and gamers with Xbox LIVE accounts however will be able to continue to use the service for free.