Last.fm isn't going to last in it's current state for much longer, as they've just announced some changes for Last.fm Radio for 2013. If you're a user, these are the changes that will affect you: the Last.fm desktop app is going subscription-only for a lot of users (based on country), and Last.fm Radio will only be available through the web site for free, through the app as a subscription.
Here's the affected countries: United States, United Kingdom and Germany all go to subscription-only. If you live in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Brazil then consider yourself lucky, you'll see no changes to your service. If you live in any other country besides those mentioned in either previous group, Last.fm Radio will end as of Jan. 15, 2013.
"We are always looking at ways to bring music to more people, when it can be done so economically, and we hope to be able to open streaming to a wider audience in the future," they said in a statement today.
This marks another streaming music service that's moving away from an app-centric model to a more simplified and streamlined web site model. The dominant trend right now for Spotify, Last.fm, et al is to shift focus from the entropy of maintaining apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and all of the other variations of mobile phone and smart phone into a more-web-site-centered model. Which is to say, one app for all users done through the web site, where streaming music services have the most control over their existence without giving a cut to the app stores. This allows them to run ads against your listening time without giving app stores a cut of the money. If you want to stay inside of a dedicated app, you'll need to pay for a subscription.
Which is also to say, this is being driven by licensing costs of copyrighted music.