Last.fm is one of our favourite music sites. It basically counts what you listen to, and makes recommendations. It sounds simple, but with 30 million users and 7 years of constant information, it is the best recommendation engine out there.
Last.fm has two parts. The site, and then a program called Audioscrobbler. Audioscrobbler can be installed on your computer, or as a plug-in for your media player. However you do it, Audioscrobbler starts to tell the site (through your signed up account) what you listen to, and logs it.
Then the fun starts.
We’ve had an account for years, and it’s amazing to see that we listen to a hell of a lot of REM. It’s just full of interesting stats – if you’re into that sort of thing.
You can discover more about your listening habits in many ways. Top tracks, albums and artists split into 7 days, 3 month, 6 month, 12 month and all-time.
But that’s just scratching the surface. You can see what your friends are listening to. You can also see what the most popular track by an artist is. You can also see, generally, what most of the world is listening to at the moment.
You can confirm to yourself that Dylan’s biggest song is Like A Rolling Stone. Radiohead actually is the most popular band in the world. Almost 20K people listened to ‘I Kissed A Girl’ yesterday. Utterly fascinating (if you like that sort of thing).
There’s some great community stuff too. A simple but functional friends system, groups and a powerfully accurate recommendations engine. As it’s actually based on lots of people’s real listening habits, it gets it mostly right.
This all comes on the news that Last.fm’s owners (CBS, who bought the company in ’97 for a whopping $280m), is going to roll the site into it’s radio and interactive music departments. Not sure what changes this will mean for us users…we’ll see.
Regardless, as of right now, it’s simple to hook up. Join if you haven’t already. Add to the great wealth of information that the internet is good for. And find out a little more about yourself in the process.
Last.fm – http://www.last.fm