Quite a few articles has been circulating the blogosphere about music streaming service Last.fm. Most notably, Last.fm has been partnering with quite a few music companies (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal & Warner). In doing so they’ve not only upgraded their catalog, but are now offering plays of full-length tracks and entire albums for free! It should be noted that this is only a beta period, tracks can only be played up to 3 times for free before a notice pops up announcing their future plans for to a subscription based model of the service.
Something we’ve wanted for years—for people who visit Last.fm to be able to play any track for free—is now possible. With the support of the folks behind EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner—and the artists they work with—plus thousands of independent artists and labels, we’ve made the biggest legal collection of music available to play online for free, the way we believe it should be.
Full-length tracks are now available in the US, UK, and Germany, and we’re hard at work broadening our coverage into other countries.
They are also working on getting these same features in their desktop client. On the flip side, artists and labels are paid directly every time someone streams a song.
This is good because artists get paid based on how popular a song is with their fans, instead of a fixed amount.
[….]we are paying artists and labels a share of advertising revenue from the website.
As for the full-length tracks, the entire database isn’t updated, but quite a few popular tracks are most notably full length =D !
If you’re looking to spice up your Last.fm experience head over to Lifehacker and check out their 15 Power Tweaks for Last.fm.