As modern day music fanatics, we listen to music everywhere, all the time, and across multiple platforms and devices. Since most of the music we listen to is fragmented among these devices like ipods, computers, mobile devices, and websites, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep the music we listen to in a centralized and accessible location. Last.fm is here to help you!
Last.fm started in 2002 and to date currently has over 40 million registered users. Last.fm’s main function is a music discovery site that bases recommendations off of music you already listen to, not just music that is brand new and in a marketing promotion cycle like Pandora.
Again, most music fanatics already have at least half a dozen accounts for music discovery sites like, Pandora, Grooveshark, Hype Machine, and Spotify, etc. We tend to use these sites for free access to music, when our main music devices are elsewhere or just looking for a change a pace. This is all great, but what is happening to the music once it plays? In most cases nothing. You either mark it as a “liked” track and go back to the same site to listen to it again, or some cases actually making the jump to purchase the song. In reality, we enjoy most of the music we listen to, but don’t want to have to “like” every song just to have the ability to hear it played again. Here’s where last.fm brings everything together.
WTF is Scrobbling?
Scrobbling is what makes Last.fm magic! As a registered Last.fm user, you’re provided with a music profile page. When a Last.fm user listens to any song played through the Last.fm radio for over 50% of the track length, that song is Scrobbled! Any song that is scrobbled is automatically added to your music library.
Unfortunately, what most of my friends do is create a Last.fm account, play an artist based radio station for a few hours, and use it just like a Pandora station without realizing and taking advantage of what’s happening in the background. Although the streaming radio service is amazing, it doesn’t benefit the Last.fm user until they have built up a substantial library that truly reflects their own unique music tastes.
What most new users overlook is the official Last.fm desktop clients and mobile apps. These apps act as a bridge to your music collections that you have been cultivating for years and years! With these apps installed on your favorite device, you simply listen to music as you normally would and the songs scrobble to your last.fm profile. Essentially it’s keeping a detailed history of all those prized mp3’s you hunted down, and keeping it safe in a cloud based music library. Since I became a Last.fm member in Oct 2007 I have successfully scrobbled over 20,000 mp3’s.
One of the first things every new Last.fm user should do is download the Last.fm scrobbler to the computer that you stash all of your music on. Download it HERE! During the setup process, it will ask would you like to add your iTunes, Windows Media Player, or Winamp listening history to your last.fm library, YES!!! Once you’ve added your music collection to Last.fm it already knows 90% of your music listening habits. Now that the scrobbler is running on your computer, any music you listen to on your favorite music player will be scrobbled, or added to your Last.fm account.
Of course many of us listen to music on the move today and our primary music device is our phones. So naturally there’s a iPhone & Android app that will scrobble music you play via iTunes or the native music app. It also has an excellent streaming radio player that will let you play artist or song type, but the best radio is yours! The “Your Library Radio”, will play any of your scrobbled songs that exist in the Last.fm music collection, but with a few Dead-On recommendations mixed in. Personally I subscribe to Last.fm for $3 a month so I can play a “My Loved Songs” stream which is an amazing feature.
Last.fm also provides developers with a scrobble happy api which has opened the door for numerous third party apps and sites to take advantage of the Last.fm service. This is so you don’t need to stop listening to your favorite music streaming sites. If you’re still a big fan of Pandora, that’s fine, use ScrobblePandora to milk out all the songs you listen to on Pandora, and keep them for future play in your Last.fm library.
For the last year my favorite Last.fm website integration has to be with Hype Machine (hypem.com). Hype Machine is one of my main sources of NEW music and consequently they do not provide a mobile app to listen to that music on the road. They do however let you link your Hype Machine account to Last.fm so that you can scrobble and add all those new songs to your library. You can later tune into your Last.fm library radio and listen to all those great new tracks that you like on Hype Machine. Boom, mobile Hype Machine app!
There are tons of apps that link just about any online music service so you can scrobble and keep those songs forever!
So Last.fm has my music collection, now what?
Now that you’re all scrobbled up and Last.fm has the music you like and listen to, it’s time to start enjoying the fruits of your labor. The last.fm radio player is one of the best music streamers out there. Go to your last.fm profile page, desktop scrobbler, or mobile app, and play “Your Library Radio”. You will be amazed to hear all your favorite tracks come streaming through, plus music that is so specifically targeted to your unique music profile that you will hear some recommended songs you will truly love. Rarely will you hear something that is off the mark, and if it is, there is the “Ban” button, see ya!
Find Your Musical Soul Mates
You’ll notice on the left hand side of your Last.fm profile are some tools like Charts (view your music statistics) Friends (play your friends radio station), and Neighbors. Neighbors is very cool, it basically takes your music listening history and compares it with other Last.fm users listening history and shows you who has the same music taste as you. You’ll be surprised to see how many people love the same weird music as you! You can even play a “Neighborhood” radio station to listen to what people with your music tastes also like.
They are lot’s of sites out there that let you link your Last.fm account to provide you with some great services. One of my favorites is Sendgig.com
I love going to concerts to see my favorite artists perform live, but one problem is that I don’t know when or where they are going to be playing. Sendgig does all the legwork for you. By linking your Last.fm and Facebook account, Sendgig will search through your music library and use your latest Facebook location to find all of the relevant concerts that are playing in your area. You can even purchase the tickets straight through the site.
The benefits of Last.fm are growing everyday. The important thing is to create, and keep using your Last.fm account, scrobble, scrobble, SCROBBLE. With Last.fm you’ll always have a comprehensive backup of your music collection, you can stream it anywhere, and you can use your music data to help find concerts, make new friends, and discover amazing music.
Friend me on Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/doctorklein83
Bonus: Check out the Playground for some sick Infographics and Apps based on your music. Here’s an Infographic of my listening history over the last 18 months. I think it will make a sweet poster.
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