Archive for the ‘last.fm’ Category

Ego tripping at the gates of hell*

September 1, 2007

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a big descriptive post.

So I’m going to write a long post about last.fm. I’d normally just link to last.fm on wikipedia but no, I do that all the time. Infact I have a whole other blog where I just link to other people’s content. Instead, I’m going to write my own long meandering take on how addictive last.fming is.

Before last.fm

There came a time when I got bored with listening and re-listening to music on my workstation playlist. I wanted to listen to something new, fresh and untainted by two hundred plays already. Also I was scared the RIAA would ban all forms of Internet radio. This was sometime around when Pandora was blocked outside the U.S. I decided to try Internet radio.

I tried Yahoo’s Launch first because of the very convenient Launchcast messenger plug-in. It’s good, but only for a while. They’ve got quite a few themed stations but most of my favorite ones were for paid members. Then I realized that almost all of Launch features are for paid members. There’s even an advert after every other song reminding listeners the benefits of subscribing. Which include no adverts. Pah!

Then I found radioblogclub and it was great. No adverts! And I could replay a song as many times I wanted. Search for an artist and you get playlists with the song you’ve searched for and a bunch of other slightly similar songs. I discovered a lot of new music and even now I’m quite fond of it. Here’s a list of songs I had once faved.

After last.fm

Then *drumrolls* I got invited to last.fm, the *more drumrolls* social music revolution. It’s like Anil Dash says, “social networking is a feature, not an application”.

For a newb last.fm’s got quite a daunting UI. It’s been around since 2002 but each time I’d come across the site I’d thought it only plays 30 second previews and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Then my inviter showed me this,

I have 15 tracks, why won’t my playlist play?
Here are few tips to make your playlist playable:
You need to add at least 15 tracks that are “streamable.” Streamable tracks are the ones that have the blue or yellow play buttons next to them.
Add as many different artists as possible; you can’t make a playlist out of an album by a single artist, for example.

The faq page is quite comprehensive. Take a look before you wonder why the hell your music isn’t playing.

The secret of last.fm’s addictiveness is the audioscrobbler. It keeps track of music I play on my local media players. There’s a plugin available for almost all popular players. Now, last.fm has a history of all the songs I’ve ever listened to. It uses this to calculate my music taste, my musical compatibility with other last.fmers and recommend music I might like.

I can’t think of a more brilliant way to lock in users. I now hesitate to play music elsewhere because it won’t be scrobbled.

Then there are the APIs, which can be used to get almost all of the user data. Needless to say, it’s used to make endlessly entertaining apps.

For more statistics about my musical taste, visit my page and add me. I’ll add you if you say you found me through my blog. Even if you listen to Backstreet Boys.

If only I found something with so much Web 2.0 goodness for archiving the movies and books too, my life would be perfect

*song by the Flaming Lips, discovered and loving them