As of today, you can play full-length tracks and entire albums for free on the Last.fm website.
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. During this initial public beta period, each track can be played up to 3 times for free before a notice appears telling you about our upcoming subscription service. The soon-to-be announced subscription service will give you unlimited plays and some other useful things. We’re also working on bringing full-length tracks to the desktop client and beyond.
I enjoy LastFM – especially the charts of my quirky listening habits. This announcement actually sweetens the experience. I can hear full-length tracks and decide if I might want to purchase them from iTunes or Amazon MP3. Looking at my top play, however, only a few tracks are available in full so far.
I’m wondering: how might a library use LastFM? Could we access the site as a sort of listening station on public computers?