Last.fm has upgraded its services in October and introduced a host of new features that I feel really improves the site.
New Flash Player – via this app, music samples of roughly 30 seconds long are available for a large collection of artists. For more popular and well-known albums, samples of all or most of the tracks are now available. Previously, I used MySpace Music for trying out stuff, but Last.fm boasts a much cleaner and informative interface. I believe I will be using this feature very frequently.
Free Downloads – pretty obvious what this feature offers. There volume of music available for download is limited as expected but this is still a nice extra to have. The music comes in 128 kbps MP3s and download speed is very acceptable.
Taste-o-meter – when you click into another user’s profile, there is now a meter that indicates how similar you music taste is with the user. The box also lists the similar artists you share with this user. This features simplifies the social networking function of Last.fm.
Overall, I think the upgrades are all worthwhile. The flash player and music samples have also helped transform the site from simply a report of what music has been played to a database of information on musicians. I will probably now use it as a major compliment to All Music Guide in finding and trying out new music.