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Last.fm to charge for mobile music-streaming

Mobile app to have £3 monthly subscription

Music-streaming service Last.fm has revealed mobile phone users will have to fork out a monthly subscription to access the service from their handset.

Until now, mobile users were able to download an app for a number of mobile platforms, including Android and Apple iPhone, that allowed them to stream tracks and create their own personalised radio service for free, although the tracks were peppered with adverts. However, the service has decide this model is "not practical" and wants users to pay to listen to music.

"We think that the best experience is ad-free," Last.fm's head of product, Matthew Hawn, told the BBC.

"It's not that we're losing buckets of money on our service... but we're trying to make rational decisions about our business model."

The service will cost £3 per month for mobile phone users, although the web-based service will still be available for free. Microsoft has already confirmed it will subsidise the subscription cost to ensure the service remains free for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox users.

The subscription will come into effect on Tuesday February 15. Last.fm also revealed it plans to launch a new mobile app that offers to improve the quality of the music-streaming service.

"We’re committed to building Last.fm into a bigger service that gives listeners the best music discovery experience anywhere while financially supporting and promoting the artists who make the music we love. 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," the company said on its blog. It was referring to music-streaming services such as Spotify, which already charges mobile phone owners to listen to music on their handset.

See also: T-Mobile music store boosted by Last.fm

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