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Last.fm charges for mobile

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Last.fm will start charging for streaming to its mobile applications from next Tuesday, although the desktop web versions of the site in the UK, Germany and the USA will remain free.

So too, curiously, will the Windows Mobile 7 version of the service – but not in Germany. Xbox Live members in the US will continue to get free music streaming.

"You’ll see that this change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you to listen to music on mobile devices," wrote Matthew Hawn, Last.fm's "VP of product".

At £3 per month, ad-free streaming is in line with Pandora's $36 annual sub, and less than than We7's and Spotify's £10-a-month mobile packages. The latter allow offline caching, however.

Last.fm has bled red ink in each of the seven years since it launched in 2004, losing tens of millions of pounds, although the annual loss narrowed to £2.8m (pre-tax) in 2009. ®

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