Last.fm Offers Free Streaming Albums And Tracks

The popular music site Last.fm announced today that beginning immediately, you can listen to entire music tracks and full-length albums for free. Previously, you could only hear excerpts of most tracks, which made Last.fm a great place for discovering new artists but a rotten one for actually listening to them. The site is taking a Flickr-style approach to its new service, offering a free version—you can listen to a track up to three times—and a forthcoming subscription service which will allow for unlimited streaming. This sounds good, but we’re curious about the three-listen limit, and how frequently that count is reset, if ever.

What’s particularly nice about the service is Last.fm has arranged to pay artists directly every time a song is streamed, and independent artists are treated as equals to those stuck under big labels.

We already have licenses with the various royalty collection societies, but now unsigned artists can put their music on Last.fm and be paid directly for every song played. This helps to level the playing-field–now you can make music, upload it to Last.fm and earn money for each play. If you make music, you can sign up to participate for free.

We’re not printing money to pay for this–but the business model is simple enough: we are paying artists and labels a share of advertising revenue from the website.

“Free the Music” [Last.fm Blog]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. glasgow says:

    I checked it out, it’s ok, I prefer http://www.pandora.com, much more intuitive and comprehensive with a no frills and no ads.

  2. UpsetPanda says:

    Two things they don’t say that I figured out within 5 minutes of going to last.fm. One, you can’t listen to full-length versions of ALL tracks. For instance, I searched for Feist and indeed I could listen to full versions of all available tracks. Then I searched for OK Go and that wasn’t the case. Will this change? Don’t know.

    Second, they don’t offer full albums for just anyone, and I couldn’t find any indication on the front page which albums are in full and available for streaming. Anyone find anything?

  3. Balisong says:

    This is great! I already adore last.fm. I would probably pay for a subscription to this if it lives up to this description and if I was ever at home to use it. I wonder how exactly the artists are getting paid…says they get “a share of advertising revenue from the website.”

    @UpsetPanda: Maybe OK Go just hasn’t put their own full-length tracks up yet?

  4. Balisong says:

    And Jesus Christ people, last.fm is not in the slightest like pandora.com. At pandora, you type in a single artist and a station is built around that starting point. Last.fm tracks everything you constantly listen to through a plugin in your winamp or itunes. Amazing how many people I have to explain this to.

  5. DrGirlfriend says:

    Indeed, Pandora and last.fm are different animals altogether.

  6. morganlh85 says:

    Pandora rocks!

  7. MYarms says:

    Hmmm I think I’ll stick to the Pirate Bay.

  8. csdiego says:

    I love last.fm.

  9. SacraBos says:

    I love last.fm, too! I’ve been listening to it for a while, and have discovered several artists I like I didn’t know about before.

  10. Joafu says:

    Yay, other Pandora fans!

  11. spinachdip says:

    I like Last.fm enough, but all my “neighbors” are apparently 10 years younger than me.

  12. cerbie says:

    So, what makes this special, and why do I want it?

    I was thinking Last.fm existed to match you to others based on what you listen to, so that you can find new things, yet, unlike Pandora, account for taste (Pandora doesn’t work for me—it relies too much on style).

    I’m not trying to be snide, I just really don’t get what this is supposed to add to it.

  13. vladthepaler says:

    Your article is incorrect. Last.fm lets you listen to some tracks full-length, but most are just short exerpts.

  14. Balisong says:

    @spinachdip: I don’t even pay attention to my neighbors anymore – they all listen to emo. No, seriously! It’s like last.fm took all the bands I like one or two songs by and gave me neighbors based solely on them…instead of the artists I actually listen to on a daily basis. The neighbor system needs an overhaul.

  15. Smackdown says:

    I’m telling you guys, Slacker is where’s it at. I promise, I don’t work for them, I just was getting sick of Pandora, because sometimes a girl wants to listen to streaming radio that isn’t always playing stuff I don’t know, and Slacker, like, scratches my itch big time. They’ll play related music, but you can also set up stations with bands that you like and they’ll play just those bands.