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Last.fm co-founders pack up record boxes

Hoxton trio ditch CBS-owned firm

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The co-founders of Last.fm have quit the CBS-owned company.

CEO Felix Miller, COO Martin Stiksel and CIO Richard Jones confirmed they were leaving in a blog post yesterday. The trio will stay on as consultants at the firm until September.

CBS Interactive’s boss Quincy Smith said Miller, Stiksel and Jones would hang around to ensure a smooth handover of management at the top.

“We are actively looking to hire a new leadership team which will definitely consist of more than one person,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The trio founded Last.fm in 2002 in a living room in Whitechapel, east London. The outfit now claims 37.3m monthly unique visitors to its site.

“After two years running Last.fm within CBS we feel the time is right to begin the process of handing over the reins,” wrote the three men in a joint blog post on Wednesday afternoon.

Smith told the Financial Times that the departure of Last.fm's co-founders was “a bummer.”

Earlier this year Last.fm has hit out at an uncorroborated report that alleged the music streaming website passed user data over to the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA).

It responded angrily to a report posted by TechCrunch that cited an unsourced rumour, which claimed Last.fm handed over a “giant dump of user data to track down people who are scrobbling unreleased tracks" to the RIAA.

The move apparently followed U2's forthcoming album, No Line On The Horizon being leaked onto the interwebs ahead of its 3 March release.

In February Last.fm CIO Jones denied the unsubstantiated claims.

"I'm rather pissed off this article was published, except to say that this is utter nonsense and totally untrue,” he wrote at the time. “As far as I can tell, the author of this article got a 'tip' from one person and decided to make a story out of it.”

CBS also refuted the claims. However, some reports are now suggesting that the speculation could be one of the reasons behind the sudden departure of the three men from Last.fm.

CBS Interactive’s music group president, David Goodman, will immediately take control of the Hoxton-based company, which the US media giant bought for £140m ($280m) in 2007. ®

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