Last.fm format change fuels download sales

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DENVER -- Last.fm released figures suggesting services that allow free full-song streaming can spur increased download sales. The company said that since it upgraded from 30-second song samples to full songs, CD and downloads sales through its links to partner Amazon have increased 119%.

Part of this bump is because of the increased number of Last.fm users gained from both the new functionality and the marketing surrounding the launch. But the company said the CD and download purchases from even existing members buying on Amazon jumped 66% as well.

The exact impact of this data remains unclear. Last.fm has no resident download service, offering only streaming, playlist and community features. It partners with Amazon, 7digital and iTunes as an affiliate, but offers no sales data for the other two services.

By providing only details for growth at Amazon, it's difficult to say whether the bump is due directly to the addition of full-song streaming or due to Last.fm users migrating from iTunes to Amazon as a result of the latter's DRM-free policies (i.e.: 66% of Last.fm users may have simply started buying from a different retailer, sparking growth in one but leaving the overall number of purchased tracks the same).

The company said it has no plans to introduce a store of its own in the near future. Last.fm also says the amount of time members spend on Last.fm also increased 118% since moving to the full-song format.
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