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CBS snaps up social music site Last.fm for £140m

Fibre_optic © ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

© ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

6. June 2007

£20m windfall for Austrian co-founder Martin Stiksel

US broadcasting giant CBS has paid £140m for the London-based music and social networking website, Last.fm.

As part of the deal — Europe’s largest web 2.0 acquisition to date — Last.fm’s founders Martin Stiksel, Felix Miller and Richard Jones have each reportedly netted around £20m, turning them overnight into multi-millionaires, a far cry from Last.fm’s early days when the trio were so cash-strapped they were forced to live in tents on top of their office in Whitechapel.

Last.fm brings together people who share similar musical tastes and recommends new songs and artists to them. The site then allows users to listen to this music over the internet and connects them with other listeners to share recommendations.

The website was started in 2002 by Austrian-born Martin Stiksel, now 32 and German-born Felix Miller, 30 as an online radio station and music community website. They heard about a project called Audioscrobbler, developed by computer science student Richard Jones, now 24, at Southampton University, and joined forces to create the all-round music service.

Now Last.fm is claimed to be the world’s largest social music platform, tracking the tastes of over 15 million users and offering over 95 million music tracks — quite a turnaround for a company which began life as just four servers in a dungeon in Vienna.

CBS president Leslie Moonves said: "Last.fm is one of the most well-established, fastest-growing online community networks out there. Their demographics also play perfectly to CBS's goal to attract younger viewers and listeners across our business."

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