Last.fm has announced Yesterday a rather controversial change in policy that would mean listeners would have to pay 3 Euros per month to be able to stream songs on their net radio. An interesting point: listeners from the US, UK and Germany will get the same service - for free.
The wisdom and apparent less than even handed approach here may be questioned in light of the current global economic situation, especially when similar financial models from the past were not too successful. Judging from the initial amount and content of the comments by last.fm users in response to the announcement, success is not guaranteed in this case as well.
With all these changes coming (and more still to come, look here), I just hope that the site's main raison d'être, music discovery, will continue even on this new and limited format. After all, I owe last.fm the introduction of many great songs and artists (here's my profile there).
The latest are Olympia, Washington based group June Madrona. Though its members have been rotating now and again, the band's main singer-songwriter Ross Cowman has endured. Together they create warm and earthy folk, sometimes reminding me of early Decemberists, sometimes of quiet New Pornographers. Mostly though, they are a unique and original group capable of enchanting their audience in an other-worldly atmosphere. Just take a look here for a live example.