Can’t believe this. Last.fm, my favorite music recommendation service, is now letting anyone listen to tracks from the four major record labels, and many independent labels, by streaming them through the Last.fm website. Completely free — iTunes music store be damned. This is completely legal; Last.fm has worked out deals with the labels in question (i.e. pretty much all of them) to do this. You can listen to any track three times before being prompted to buy it. But you get access to everything the labels have, as I understand it.
The original Last.fm model (and other music recommendation services such as Pandora) you could tell the Last.fm software what artist or genre you liked and it would feed you music based on that suggestion, and tell the software whether you liked or didn’t like what it fed you. Obviously now the model is more like listening to whatever you want, whenever you want, for free.
Since Last.fm was purchased by CBS, people have expected big things to come from it. But this announcement might be a bit bigger than most people expected.