Music to music-lovers’ ears

Mike Geer

Music lovers rejoice! No longer do you have to listen to 30-second excerpts on iTunes of your favorite bands; Last.fm has arrived. The entire site is devoted to figuring out what you listen to, and finding bands that will pique your fancy, much like the “listeners have also bought…” section of iTunes.

Just type in a favorite artist of yours, go to their page, and click on the artist’s radio button. This will play free streaming music not only of the artist, but of similar bands as well. With no affiliation to the record industry, Last.fm has one of the widest varieties of musicians on the web, many of whom are of independent labels. As an added bonus, the homepage includes concert listings in your area, as well as free music downloads, most watched videos, and artists on the rise.

For those of you who are musicians, Last.fm wants to make you famous. Towards the bottom of the page is a section that allows any band to sign up and create their own page completely for free. Your music is easily accessible to the 20 million listeners, fans can join your page to promote it, and best of all, artists receive royalties for airtime. The more popular your music is, the more money made. Unlike Pandora, Last.fm gets little money from your success, instead receiving numerous charitable donations.

Last.fm has a dual persona; it doubles as a social networking site which compiles the music picks of millions of users to make a perfect playlist for you. Entire sections are devoted to commenting on any given artist’s style, popularity, pros and cons, and general info. You can also watch the rise or fall of bands you like on the most-listened artists chart.

Once you click on one of the recommended musicians, you find yourself going from page to page, band to band until you are miles away from your original choice, which opens you up to music you may never have taken time to listen to. For the music fanatic in all of us, Last.fm holds the key to your ongoing happiness. Let its glory be heard of far and wide. Amen.