Last.fm has today announced that it is the first website to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music from Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI, plus CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists.
The service is ad supported, which means that they can implement the second part of their master plan: paying unsigned artists each time one of their tracks is played on the Last.fm service.
Any track can be streamed for free up to three times each, at which point the track can be purchased via one of Last.fm’s affiliate partners, which includes iTunes, Amazon, and 7 Digital.
The service launched today in the UK, the US, and Germany, and will be rolled out globally over the coming months.
Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said: “We’re giving the listener free access to what is basically the best jukebox in the world. The ability to dip into such a uniquely broad catalogue from your laptop, home or office computer, and listen to whatever you want for free represents a new way of consuming music that in turn might change the way you listen to music. In that respect, nobody else can currently offer what Last.fm is offering right now.”