Alex of Last.fm writes:
TechCrunch have gotten mixed up and posted an unsubstantiated rumour. It’s entirely untrue, as Last.fm have stated here: http://www.last.fm/forum/21713/_/506518/1#f8660996
“We’ve never had any request for such data by anyone, and if we did we wouldn’t consent to it.
Of course we work with the major labels and provide them with broad statistics, as we would with any other label, but we’d never personally identify our users to a third party – that goes against everything we stand for.
As far as I’m concerned Techcrunch have made this whole story up.”
Kudos to Last.fm for giving good PR – quickly! – and for offering clarification on what must be a big headache. Curious to know: what exactly are “broad statistics,” and do these stats include the number of people to illegally download music?
Seems to me the way forward for these labels, if they intend to survive, is to look at the number of inevitable downloads, “illegal” downloads, to determine the actual popularity of a given band. The money will be made in finding the download patterns and in, of course, touring. Last.fm must be making cash off these stats. And if the company is as on top of mining the stats as they are on contacting a blogger with about 100 uniques a day, well they’re doing something right.