Last.fm has announced it's launching a service to allow anyone to listen to music on the site for free - as long as they only want to listen to each song three times or less.

The company claims that this makes them the first music website to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music built on partnerships with all four major record labels - Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI - as well as CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists.

Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said: "We’re giving the listener free access to what is basically the best jukebox in the world. The ability to dip into such a uniquely broad catalogue from your laptop, home or office computer, and listen to whatever you want for free represents a new way of consuming music that in turn might change the way you listen to music".

Last.fm is also launching an "Artist Royalty" arrangement, where unsigned artists can upload their music and will receive payment directly from Last.fm, every time one of their tracks is played.

Last.fm's free-on-demand service will be advertiser supported, and is live now in the US, UK and Germany, with a global roll-out planned for the coming months.

All tracks can be streamed for free up to three times each. At that point, the site politely suggests the listener might want to buy the track from Last.fm's affiliate partners including iTunes, Amazon and 7Digital.