CBS-owned Last.fm says 3rd party web widgets hooked into its API added 19 million music users to its user base in January, in addition to the 21 million active users accessing the service through the Last.fm site itself. As a result it has launched a dedicated showcase site to highlight the best widgets and tools. The site opened to developers in 2003 but has not set up a dedicated home for them at build.last.fm. Some of the widgets that have come from this innovation include a tool that shows favourite CD covers on WordPress blogs, a tool that graphs music preferences and one that tracks listening habits on a user’s mobile phone.
So here’s a question. Why was is it that at last night’s Mashup event on widgets on London last night, so many audience questions about widgets were along the lines of “Where’s the money?”. Was the audience just plain dumb or did the eminent list of speakers not get the information across well enough?
I noticed that plenty of ‘brand managers’ in the audience seemed to be worried about what would happen if someone put a widget containing their brand on a site which did not portray their brand in the best light. But I have to ask, what about lots of people putting the widget in the perfect place for their brand? Ever heard of the long tail? This feels like a very old and dead conversation. The people who don’t get this are seriously in trouble.