Welcome to the new last.fm. Looks much like the old last.fm ... but there's a creamy treat on the inside!
Smaller brands can often afford to align themselves with a particular artist or genre, but larger brands tend to (smartly) tick off as many boxes as they can without ticking off any of their consumers. For them and many others, last.fm is rolling out new ad software that allows advertisers to target users based on their musical tastes. According to the UK Times Online, the CBS-owned site's redesign this week was geared in part toward delivering better-targeted interactive experiences like this.
The Times piece highlights the usefulness of this tool for businesses associated with the live music industry, and, although these tools sound like they could deliver some real value for fans, they may just be the start for marketers. Last.fm users may be oblivious to the calculations behind the scenes, but what if someone who listens to The Strokes found a banner ad highlighting Julian's involvement in the free Converse single? Picking the most convenient entry point for a consumer would be the most efficient way to get them to listen to "My Drive Thru."
And that's just one example. This tool would have been wonderful for Gap's "Color Redefined" campaign a few months back and even the McDonald's Big Mac Chant contest going on right now (voting ends Sunday, btw!).
But even talking about multi-artist/genre campaigns is limiting the applications. Really, any music-focused campaign -- even with a single artist or genre -- could get a more-targeted buy this way, and, as Marc Cohen points out, this tool could be used for even non-music-branding campaigns ... Selling jean shorts? Go for Eagles fans. Cargo shorts? Nickelback fans. Utilikilts? Obviously, Songs for Soap fans.
The mind reels with horror/possibilities.
BTW, you can find me on last.fm under the name heyboyblue. I haven't listened to anything horrendously embarrassing in a while, and I've already scrubbed my scrobble of all the Hayden Panettiere, so maybe I can regain some cred/respect if you check it out!