Last.fm has vehemently denied a report alleging that it handed information about users who listened to a leaked music album over to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) data.
The report, which was first published by technology blog TechCrunch last Friday, accused Last.fm of giving the RIAA information about users who listened to an unreleased album by U2. TechCrunch reported that its information came from a source who has a friend at CBS, which owns Last.fm. Yesterday, Last.fm denied the allegations in a blog posting, claiming, "TechCrunch are full of [expletive]."
Last.fm allows users to build a musical profile based on their personal music collection, or by listening to the site's Internet radio service. All songs that users play are then added to a log, from which a list of top artists, tracks, and musical recommendations is calculated. TechCrunch's story alleged that a log of users who listened to U2's unreleased album (obtained in illegal ways, usually via BitTorrent clients) was handed to the RIAA.
"The only type of data we make available to labels and artists, other than what you see on the site, is aggregate data of listeners and number of plays," said Richard Jones, Last.fm co-founder in the blog post. "We keep a close eye on what data mining jobs we run, not because we're paranoid the RIAA is trying to infiltrate us, but because time on our Hadoop Cluster (where the data lives) is so precious and we have lots of important jobs that run every day," Jones wrote.
Since the original publishing of the article, TechCrunch have updated their post with Last.fm's denial. However, the technology blog has drawn criticism from both readers and bloggers over the quality of this report.