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Food for thoughts …
The online service last.fm offers several analytical facilities for stat-loving music fans and enables listeners to document every music track that they play.
There are various last.fm music reviews online, and whilst the service does have its critics, there are many music fans who say that it has changed the way that they consume the work of bands and artists for the better.
Music lovers all over the world have formed long-standing, robust relationships with bands after discovering them through a positive last.fm review. In fact a last fm review can be worth its weight in gold when trying to discover more of the music you love.
Music lovers all over the world have formed long-standing, robust relationships with bands after discovering them through a positive last.fm review
My own last.fm profile was started in May 2008, and I have attempted to ensure that everything I listen to has been catalogued by the service since then.
The array of charts that the service offers allow you to see which artists, tracks and albums you have listened to over various periods such as the last week, six months and since you first started using the service. When a play of a track is recorded by the service, this is called scrobbling.
Whilst stats may or may not be overly-insightful during the first weeks that you first start to scrobble your music, over the time numerous trends and patterns can start to reveal themselves.
You’ll be able to see which acts you tend to listen to the most, and which acts have just started to resonate with you.
If you feel you are listening to too much old music, you can change your habits accordingly to ensure that you are keeping your ear to the ground instead of losing touch with new contemporary sounds.
The service also suggests ‘friends’ to you, based on shared musical tastes whilst recommending new and established artists to you that it feels you will enjoy and even shows personalised gig listings.
If you feel you are listening to too much old music, you can change your habits accordingly to ensure that you are keeping your ear to the ground
You can scrobble to the service via a variety of mediums, such as Spotify, iTunes and digital music players including smartphones and even games consoles.
For those like me who grew up following music charts, the ability to chart and analyse your own musical patterns is a godsend. If you subscribe to the service you can also enjoy features such as personalised radio.
Meanwhile, most recognised music tracks have their own dedicated page on which you can read facts about the relevant song as well as comments from other fans – ideal for those wishing to find out more about the music they are listening to.
Full-length tracks, short excerpts and YouTube clips are usually to be found on the profile pages of tracks and artists allowing you to investigate their work further if appropriate.
Ideal for those wishing to find out more about the music they are listening to
The service also uses stats from individual listeners to create global charts, showing what the most popular artists, tracks and albums in the world at any particular time are.
In a world where sales alone are not always indicative of a song, albums or act’s popularity, people are placing more and more focus on things like plays, streams and YouTube views to identify how successful music is.
The more data last.fm has to work with, the more adept it becomes at guiding the listener.
A new recommendations service called “The Dashboard” has been developed by the last.fm team and has also been created to suggest new music to the listener based on the activities of those with similar tastes.
Users can directly recommend music to people on their friend’s list or those that belong to the same groups. The groups themselves operate on a forum-like basis and involve discussion on various musical themes and topics.
Artists on independent labels have found last.fm to be a very useful tool, particularly when their budget won’t stretch to conventional promotional strategies. This enables their music to be gain exposure via ‘word-of-mouth’, and many such artists choose to upload their music to last.fm so listeners can hear it for free.
Some choose to allow listeners to download their music free-of-charge in order to stimulate exposure.
Artists on independent labels have found last.fm to be a very useful tool
Keeping an on-going record of musical habits may not be for everybody, but the more data last.fm has to work with, the more adept it becomes at guiding the listener towards music they are likely to be interested in and filtering it content that is unlikely to appeal to them.
Certain music fans have always had a slight trainspotter-esque approach to their hobby, and those that have embraced last.fm have done so wholeheartedly.
We’ve never had so much easy access to music, but last.fm enables us to make sense of the ocean of choice we’re faced with, acting as an indispensable filtering device.
Do you use Last.fm? Do you think it’s helpful?
What’s your favourite feature?