back to article Last.fm unveils 'free global jukebox'

London-based music site Last.fm announced today that it has convinced all four major record labels to let its users listen to their catalogues on demand and for free, worldwide. There's a catch, though - listeners are limited to three plays of a particular song. Last.fm will offer a new subscription package for what it calls " …

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  1. James O'Brien
    Pirate

    Hmm....

    I just checked this out and actually its not bad. Though I doubt that it has as many songs as they say. A couple bands I checked out (and granted they are no where mainstream ie: Nevermore, Sentenced, Darkseed to name a few) have a couple songs from each album it seems and then a bunch of clips form the rest. Unsure if this will change but not bad so far, also the sound quality is rather good.

    Now on a side note with a X-Fi and any number of good freeware sound recording programs out there 3 plays would be more then enough to build up a music collection :) "What you Hear" FTW.

    Course maybe thats why M$ took that feature out of Vista, not saying its not too hard to get back though.

  2. Mark SPLINTER

    Miniscule royalties

    What a surprise that musicians get "A fraction of a penny". But still, it sounds like a move in vaguely the right direction, vaguely.

  3. Andrew Johns

    other last.fm "rivals"?

    I've been using finetune lately, which has a reasonable catalogue of tunes, but the catch there is that you need to "playlist" at least 45 tunes (no more than 3 per artist) and then it randomly plays through them. I started using it as I was able to provide new years eve backing music for my house party via their wii interface (www.finetune.com/wii) without having to leave the PC on, just the Wii hooked up to the stereo. :)

    What with all the tagging, public playlists, and the ability to be a fan of an artist/album or playlist (you might even be able to be a fan of another user's selections?) and the radio stations based on an artist, keyword or similar users, etc...it's a little like last.fm.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easier for pirates?

    I saw a chap from Last fm interviewed about this on bbc news 24 yesterday, and the interviewer asked him why people would pay for the music and not just record it old-skool-style. He admitted it was possible but said that there were far easier ways on the net to pirate music if people wanted too.

    While this is true, it is hardly hard to record streams like this (even via the analog output of the soundcard if necessary), and it has one major advantage - it keeps you out of the eyes of the RIAA etc. So unless you go around advertising the fact that you are doing it, they can't track you as they can with peer-to-peer and other such illegitimate avenues. You have a legal, legitimate excuse to be visiting that site.

    The only way for the RIAA etc. to know what you are doing with that music after you stream it would require them to access your PC, something they can't currently do legally (though give them time to lobby!).

    Of course another way to stop this is to downgrade the quality of music tracks. Anyone know what bitrate these are currently encoded in?

  5. Nick Drew
    Thumb Up

    Re: easier for pirates?

    This could, just *could*, be a move by the majors to accept that while bootleggers are "stealing" their revenue, they have to embrace technology rather than pretend it doesn't exist, with their eyes shut, fingers in their ears singing "lalala" very loudly. And slapping a lawsuit on the odd 10-year old kid.

    It may seem fatalistic/ playing into their hands/ downright backwards, but face it, downloading does happen, illegally or otherwise. Why not accept it - and the fact that for the majority of people downloading goes hand in hand with buying more legitimate music such as CDs - and work out how to make money from it? Hopefully this is the first step on the way to a more mature attitude to the interweb and its implications for the music industry.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: easier for pirates?

    Don't get me wrong, I think its a great step forward.

    I was just surprised by it given the industrys ususal rehtoric, and I guess I am looking for the hidden catch (like the "unlimited music, but only while you pay us, then it disappears and you have nothing to show for your money" type services).

  7. Simmon
    Happy

    Re: Mark SPLINTER - Miniscule royalties

    A little project I am working on....www.openmuzik.com

    The site that is up at the moment is just for ref whilst the real site is being built! It give you the required information you will need!...Giving money back to the artist!

  8. Christos Georgiou
    Alert

    Re: Easier for pirates?

    About the bitrate of last.fm tunes: I am almost sure (ie I don't have any hard evidence :) that it's 128 kbit MP3. But they do need to replaygain their tracks. Users (like I) who have a broader music taste that spans decades have to fiddle constantly with their volume knob.

  9. andy

    @Simmon

    You might want to change the proposed launch date on the openmuzic site - doesn't look very professional as it stands...

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