The move to enable free online music streaming through Last.FM has massively boosted usage of the service, the company claims.

"Monthly unique listeners up 92 per cent month-over-month; new free-on-demand service helps spur traffic and metrics across the board," a press release from the company claims, describing Last.FM as the "fastest growing online music network in the US."

Unique visitors climbed 59 per cent, while page views increased 58 per cent. Last.FM receives more than 21 million active users worldwide every month.

Martin Stiksel, Last.FM co-founder, said: "Free is the future, and this is signalled not only by the industry's growing acceptance of what we're doing, but more importantly, by the incredibly fast increase of users accessing music on Last.FM since we launched free-on-demand."

Users can visit Last.FM without registration to stream their choice of track from the available catalogue.