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Interview: Martin Stiksel, Last.fm

By Jo Last edited 117 months ago
Interview: Martin Stiksel, Last.fm
l-r Martin Stiksel, Felix Miller, Richard Jones.jpg

It wasn't so long ago that London-based "social music revolution" website Last.fm was bought out by American media behemoth (no, not the band) CBS. We asked co-founder of Last, Martin Stiksel what it meant for the site - and what on earth is going on with Paris Hilton ...

What does the CBS deal mean for Last? Apart from £140m, of course.

It means we get the muscle behind us to do all the crazily ambitious things we’ve been dreaming of doing for years, like getting every piece of music ever made on the site, and every music video too.

How did the deal come about and were there any other interested parties?

We had offers all the time, since the beginning. CBS understood us, and were cool with our desire to remain independent.

Will you go all American on us and move to California or are you committed to sticking around in London, i.e. best city in the world?

No we’re staying in London. It’s the best city in the world if you’re involved in music.

Will Last be taking on new staff in the wake of the cash injection?

We’re definitely expanding. Are you a music freak? That’s the first priority if you’re looking to work at Last.fm!

We've heard about living on the roof in tents in the early days of the site ... what was that like? Did you ever think it would get as big as it has?

It was hot – one of London’s hottest summers, so the guys would be up at dawn and coding in their shorts. We always wanted to make the site the last music destination you’d need – so our ambitions dictated that we had to get as big as this!

What are your offices like?

You can see for yourself here.

What is going on with that moose [it's a Last staff in-joke, we believe ...]?

It’s an in-joke of our tech-team. Nobody of them knows anymore how this started or what it all means.

Does everyone in the office listen to headphones or do you have an office radio station?

Mostly we all work with headphones clamped to our ears, lost in our personal sonic niches. You can check out what we all listen to most on our blog.

Any interesting Last facts we should know?

Bloc Party like T’Pau..

Do any famous musicians use Last?

Oh yes. Fran Healy is a user, members of Bloc Party are on there… we heard once that Justin Timberlake used it too, but we couldn’t say for sure!

What's been added to Last recently?

Videos: high quality music vids are being uploaded all the time; Events: find concert listings based on your music taste; Facebook widgets: add Last.fm radio to your Facebook page.

Following on, what else do you have up your sleeves for Last.fm-ers?

Lots more good stuff – stay tuned! Video scrobbling is what we’re all looking forward to – it’ll be like having your own personalised MTV.

What are people who use Last called? Calling them "people who use Last" is a bit of a mouthful.

Scrobblers!

How would you respond to the charge that Last is more about "'social-networking' egotistical self promoting masturbation rather than any sort of usefulness"?

Sounds like whoever said that hasn’t really used it. Last.fm is about discovering new music, and discovering new stuff through music.

Paris Hilton is the #1 artist tagged as "brutal death metal". While we find this highly amusing, how is Last going to police tag vandalism and preserve the utility of the tagging system?

We’re always working to improve these kind of aspects of the site. It’s ongoing, but we give it our full attention.

The London bits:

What's your favourite thing about London?

In terms of music, it’s always one step ahead of everywhere else.

What one piece of advice would you offer to mayor Ken Livingstone?

Sort out the trains!

Ideal day/night out in London?

Getting a coffee on Brick Lane or Broadway Market.

Have you ever been sick on the Tube?

Not that I can remember.

Last Updated 24 July 2007