Featured Freeware: Last.fm

Last.fm is a plug-in for music players and iPhones that anybody who loves discovering new music will enjoy. Don't worry about the complicated workflow; there isn't one.

Last.fm is a top-notch music player plug-in for music discovery, sharing, and tracking. Compatible with iTunes, MediaMonkey, Winamp, and many other players, and available for Windows, Mac, and the iPhone, it "scrobbles" your music when you play it, keeping track of what you're listening to. Once you've created an account, you can set your musical likes, favorite bands, and tag tracks as it plays them back to you. The tagging option is customizable, so you can create your own tags on the fly or use the same ones that other users have chosen. When you stream music from Last.fm, it chooses what songs to play for you based on your scrobbling history and your favorite genres.

There's also an iPhone app that's loaded with features, tabs, and buttons--one of the most in-depth and dynamic iPhone streaming-music apps. Streaming-audio performance in this version has noticeably improved since the application's original release. During testing in both Wi-Fi and 3G modes, buffer delays between songs took no more than 1 or 2 seconds, which is comparable to similar applications.

The app's menus and Now Playing screen have also been overhauled for a much more attractive and easier-to-use experience. Few applications can match Last.fm's combination of crisp-looking album art, local concert information, iTunes links, and artist biographies, which also come through on the desktop version. Whether you're new to Last.fm or a habitual user, Last.fm is a recommended download for anyone seriously interested in discovering new music.

Editors' note: Last.fm is owned by CNET's parent company, CBS Interactive.