Songza and Last.fm separately announced major upgrades to their streaming music libraries. In Songza's case, the additional tracks came via partnerships with competing web sites, while Last.fm snagged the support of major labels for their new streaming music services. The Last.fm news ends days of rampant speculation after the company sent out cryptic invitations to press conference a few days ago, which had some betting the company would morph into a video service.Music sites
Songza first: The site, which was a Crunchies finalist in the "best design" category, announced that as of January 17th its library has grown to 28 million songs. The additional songs were added via partnerships with Seeqpod and Skreemr. Any song found on Seeqpod or Skreemr, can now be streamed on Songza.
"We're excited about these partnerships -- they allow our users to find and listen to a much broader range of music," said Songza founder Aza Raskin. "Being able to listen to entire songs -- not just 30-second clips -- is a great thing for music fans. It will lead to more informed purchases of music, and more purchases overall."
Songza also announced a promotional program in collaboration with Creative Commons where independent artists can have their tracks featured on the site's recommended page for 24 hours for 99 cents. According to Songza, the recommended page receives 40,000 unique visitors each day.
Last.fm announced on their blog that beginning today users would be able to stream full-length tracks. People from EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner are all on board, as well as "thousands of independent artists and labels." The service is available immediately in the US, UK, and Germany.
The CBS-owned site already has deals in place with various royalty collection agencies, but under their new program, unsigned artists can upload music and be paid directly for every stream.
In a bit of Facebook-esque hyperbole, Last.fm co-founder Richard Jones proclaimed on the company's blog that Last.fm was "redesigning the music economy."
Last.fm claims that their service is "the biggest legal collection of music available to play online for free." However, with Songza's 28 million songs, it may not be the biggest collection of music available for streaming (the legality of Songza's music might not always be clear since the site is a music search engine, rather than a host like Last.fm). So how do they stack up?
I first tried a search for a relatively obscure artist -- Lemon Jelly -- in Songza. 45 results. In Last.fm: "Lemon Jelly isnt yet available to play on Last.fm." Next a more popular artist -- Radiohead. Songza yielded about 35 results with a lot of duplicates. Last.fm had 4 tracks, but only one was full-length. How about contemporary rap artist T.I.? 45 results on Songza, a handful of 30 second clips on Last.fm.
I'll leave you to do your own tests and draw your own conclusions.
Update: According to paidContent Last.fm's service will only allow tracks to be streamed 3 times under the current structure of the deal with the record labels. Also, see the comments for info on why my math above a little wonky.