lastfm Ever since CBS acquired social music service Last.fm for $280 million last May, we’ve been wondering what they intended to do with the service and how it would be beneficial to CBS. Now we know.  The last.fm blog entry posted today titled ‘Free the Music” explains it all and how they have a business model, a method for bringing in revenue which is something that will ultimately benefit CBS. Now they will be offering “the biggest legal collection of music available to play online for free.” The big four labels including Sony, BMG, Universal, Time Warner and EMI have all joined in and Last.fm users can listen to all of their favorite songs for free.

With over 3.5 million songs available to Last.fm users, why are the record companies supporting this move? That’s part of the whole business model we mentioned above.  Artists will get paid every time someone streams a song.  The revenue will come from advertising on the site. The best part is, all of the songs are available on demand, go try it for yourself.  And it’s not just a short little clip, it’s the full version which users are going to love.  And while it is ad supported, the ad itself isn’t obtrusive by any means.

Before you run off to try it, there are a few “rules” that come with this new service.  You didn’t think you could get away with no rules when record labels were involved, did you? Really, it’s not that bad.  A user can listen to a song for three times without registering, but then they must either log-in or register for a subscription (coming soon)  if they’d like to listen to the song again. Another aspect of the service that many of you will appreciate is that they also include 150,000 independent labels. Unsigned artists can also take part in their “artist royalty” program in which they will be able to upload their music and then get paid directly for every song played.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see if and how these changes at Last.fm impact other music services, including iTunes.

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There Are 11 Comments

  1. As usual, this feature seems to be limited to the US. :(

    “the biggest legal collection of music available to play online for free”
    What about Napster? Anyone? No? :)

  2. @Ashley:

    “A user can listen to a song for three times without registering, but then they must either log-in or register for a subscription (coming soon) if they’d like to listen to the song again.”

    I know several musical sites where you can listen to complete songs without any restrictions. For example, I’ve been listening to Songza (URL: [songza.com]) for about a month without any strings attached. I can even prepare my own playlist with the selected songs and they will be played in the order I chose.

    I think CBS has to loosen up if it wants to attract more users to last.fm.

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  3. Pieter wrote:
    What about Napster? Anyone? No? :)

    Napster isn’t free, is it? I haven’t checked in a while.

    epiac1216 wrote:
    I know several musical sites where you can listen to complete songs without any restrictions. For example, I’ve been listening to Songza (URL: [songza.com]) for about a month without any strings attached. I can even prepare my own playlist with the selected songs and they will be played in the order I chose.

    I think CBS has to loosen up if it wants to attract more users to last.fm.

    Huh, Songza looks pretty sweet. From what I gather Songza gets their music from sources like YouTube, so they don’t have to deal with the legal requirements that Last.FM has to. They don’t have to pay any royalties to artists or anything like that because it’s YouTube who is serving up the music.

  4. I have been waiting for this for so long, finally. Kudos last.fm
    :mrgreen:

  5. Well i initially thought last.fm was a UK company.Atleast their servers are in london. then why would this offer be limited to only in the US. Too many People especially on the internet thinks that the civilized world ceases to exist outside the US. :evil:

  6. Tinhed wrote:
    Well i initially thought last.fm was a UK company.Atleast their servers are in london. then why would this offer be limited to only in the US. Too many People especially on the internet thinks that the civilized world ceases to exist outside the US. :evil:

    That’s kinda ironic that they are located in London but only available to the United States. I wonder if that means they can’t listen to it themselves?

  7. I can listen to full length tracks and I am in Canada!

  8. I wonder how this will play out considering the changes over the last year in regards to royalties. I have heard several big players in internet radio are considering abandoning internet radio because the fees are so high now. It sounds like it will be an interesting change and I look forward to giving it a test. Thanks epiac1216, songza sounds quite interesting too.

  9. leland wrote:
    I wonder how this will play out considering the changes over the last year in regards to royalties.

    I never thought that on-demand music would legally be an option in 2008 at no cost. I just hope that these sites will be able to stay alive despite the tools available to download the songs from them.

  10. imeem.com has been doing this for the last six months, except it doesn’t have any limits on the number of plays.

    so last.fm have been beaten by imeem, deezer and spiralfrog – none of whom have limits on streaming. So not really big news unless you get all your music from last.fm and are afraid of going anywhere else.

  11. By closing down the free exchange of media, CBS, like most of corporate America is tightening its control over individual freedom and further separating the USA from the rest of the planet. As a US citizen living over seas, I think its shameful that the growing number of exclusionary practices like this makes America look more and more like a prison, where only wealthy people are eligible for personal freedom and control.

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