This worthwhile upgrade adds, at long last, a Pause button. Previous versions of Last.fm’s app included only a Stop button, and if you tapped that, you’d start all over again with your station list. Now that Last.fm can finally Pause and Resume, it’s more worthy of its $3/month asking price.
Yes, unlike Pandora’s ad-supported interactive radio app, Last.fm’s iPhone and Android apps include no advertising, so you’ll need to pony up three bucks every month, once you’ve maxed out the 50-track free trial. (As Recombu points out, no such limit exists on the Windows Phone 7 platform, where Last.fm promises “endless personalized radio” for free.)
The CBS-owned Last.fm also adds to its mobile versions simpler viewing of friends’ profiles, the ability to listening to stations by the username of the person who created them, the ability to track where you listened to a track (i.e. on a friend’s station or recommended radio), and bugfixes, with the improvements set to profilerate to other platforms soon.
However, one thing Last.fm still lacks — even with its relatively new $3/month paywall – is the ability to cache stations for offline playback, which is a crucial feature in these times of limited data plans.
Slacker, for instance, has long included a station caching feature with its premium internet radio app that lets you store stations for the subway or airplane — or so that you can listen without burning up megabytes on your limited data plan.
Last.fm’s primary advantage is the way it reacts to your listening habits on a variety of platforms and spits out stations that adapt to your taste automatically, and lets you follow other users’ listening habits. This is worth $3/month for some, and the offer becomes more attractive now that you can finally pause and resume stations. But really, we wonder why Last.fm waited so long to add a feature that’s standard on similar apps, and why for $3/month, you can’t listen without a data connection.