Internet-based radio services first came into existence in the early to mid 1990s. Since then, there has been a proliferation of Internet radio, some free, some for a fee. Hand in hand with Internet radio, services such as Last.fm have also risen in popularity. Last.fm has become a much loved platform, thanks to how it records a user’s musical taste. Its scrobbling feature makes it easy to see at a glance the songs you have been listening to.

Internet radio

Additionally, Last.fm has radio services, whereby users can listen to songs online – just like the other Internet radio services. The awesome thing about Last.fm radio is, along with the other features the platform offers,  that it is free.

Well, it was.

According to a recent announcement from the platform, major changes are going in effect starting January 15, 2013. Here are the major changes.

  • In the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, radio in the desktop client is now a subscription feature, as it is elsewhere.
  • In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Brazil, there will be no significant changes to our service.
  • Unfortunately, in all other countries, we are no longer offering a radio service after this date.

On the bright side, there is still a way to listen for free – if you use the web radio AND if you are from the US, the UK, and Germany. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

The reason cited for these changes is licensing restrictions. Hence, for other countries, even if you are a subscriber, you will not be able to access the web radio.

Other options

If you’re from those three countries, good for you. If not, then it might be time to say goodbye to Last.fm – if you are bent on listening to Internet radio. There are some noteworthy options, though, such as Slacker, SomaFM, and Spotify. The latter is available in more countries than Last.fm but is still rather limited.

Do you listen to Internet radio? What’s your recommendation for a Last.fm alternative?

[Image via GooglePlay]