Today, Last.fm (which CBS purchased in May 2007) announced a major expansion to its "offsite community" strategy by partnering with a range of social networks and other online destinations to distribute the site's ad-supported streaming radio service.
Dubbed "Last.fm in a Box", the service will be made available to "multiple online platforms", including Bebo, Billboard.com, Break Media, CBS Television Stations, CBS Affiliates, eMusic, Frengo, Gigya, iGoogle, Live Nation, Meebo, MP3.com, Netvibes, Ning, Pageflakes, Photobucket, Piczo, Six Apart, Stardoll, WAYN.com and WordPress.com, according to the press release. Although none of the partner efforts are yet to go live -- since the ink has only just dried -- I'm told that each ‘Last.fm in a Box’ offering will be customized and integrated into partner sites "in a bespoke manner". In other words, 'Last.fm in a Box' is both a strategy and a platform (backed up by a bunch of APIs), rather than simply a one size fits all widget.
In a written statement Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said, "This deal brings the Last.fm experience to scores of sites and potentially hundreds of millions of additional users. We’ve seen over the years how our offsite community—which experiences Last.fm through third-party widgets and applications—has grown massively, to more than 19 million additional users. With this new initiative we aim to take that growth to the next level by enabling new partners and their users to engage as effortlessly as possible with our unparalleled music services."
As CNET's Caroline McCarthy notes, 'Last.fm in a Box' closely resembles CBS' existing online video syndication effort ('CBS Audience Network' ) which today announced Yahoo as its latest partner.
The "In A Box" project follows a distributed model slightly similar to the one that CBS Interactive has adopted for online video with the CBS Audience Network, which makes the company's television and other video content available on partner sites like AOL, Veoh, and now Yahoo TV.
And in May 2007 when CBS bought the production company behind the video podcast 'Wallstrip', I noted over at last100 that the deal was very much a sign of intent in terms of embracing syndication (or the widgetization of the Web).