Last FM More Fun Than Napster

Continuing their determined push to continually innovate in the online social music world, yesterday announced that users can now play full-length tracks and albums on demand. At the moment, the full-length streaming service is available in the UK, USA and Germany, with plans to expand into other countries in the immediate future…
(from Digital Music)

Why You Need More Than More Music

At it stands at the moment, you can listen to any track three times before you are presented with an alert message which informs you of the subscription sign-up. However, this subscription service has yet to be launched, so this is a slightly premature notice. However, it does provide some indication of how the platform aims to fund the seemingly inevitable liberation of digital music. Artists are currently paid a slice of the site’s advertising revenue based on how popular their songs are, but a subscription service (if successful) would greatly enhance the commercial viability of the project.

Here’s an excerpt from the blog regarding the announcement:

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.

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on web-based music distribution models, you might have noticed that this functionality is nothing new – Napster have had this exact same offering for ages. So why is there such a hubbub in the media about following in the footsteps of another music site?

Paul Lamere has suggested that it’s not the function so much as the form; or, to put it another way, “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”. This certainly seems to be the case; despite being the first online music site to capture the public’s imagination, Napster has lost much of its credibility and momentum. On the other hand, is continually adding new ways for people to interact with one another and the music they love; it’s like a Facebook for music fans, or a MySpace for musicians who are tired of being spammed by ‘independent record promoters’. is like a big music club, where there are lots of people who are really interested in music, and where there are lots of toys to play with. And now this music club is giving us a new toy …. on-demand music. Napster, on the other hand, is like a big hardware store. They probably have all of the music that I’m looking for, but it is probably not a place that I’d want to hang out.


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