In a surprisingly forward-thinking move that will surely spark a firestorm of similar acquisitions by CBS's competition, CBS has announced today that they will purchase Last.fm for $280 million dollars. Similar to News Corp's MySpace deal, the Last.fm management team will remain intact and continue to run the service without day-to-day oversight.
The take-home from this is that CBS sees the writing on the wall, which is that plain-old terrestrial radio (and really, old media in general) is treading water in a shark tank. The value of old media without complimentary online offerings is shrinking by the day, and it's not going to grow again.
Additionally, you can bet your ass that CBS will throw its full force behind reversing the Sound Exchange/CRB decision now.
I really want to get cynical about this and cry that the sky is falling because one of my absolute favorite services has been bought by a corporate behemoth, but I really think this is a good day for radio; old and new school.
[The Wall Street Journal]
[RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter]