Tag Archives: Last.fm

Last.fm Is Not Dying, and Here’s Why

Last.fm Last.fm is an interesting company. It started off as two different projects one involving online radio, and one involving recommendations. It was born as the internet was beginning to recover from the dot-com bubble burst. While Last.fm might no longer be the coolest kid in the town, a lot of people, including me, still have a soft spot for it. Naturally, when I first noticed the title of Stefan’s TNW editorial How long is Last.fm gonna last?, I was outraged. How dare he! But as I read his post and deliberated on the issue, I could see why he had arrived at the conclusion that Last.fm is heading towards oblivion.

I may not have been the earliest adopter of Last.fm, but I had joined it at a time when it was still considered hip and fun. Besides MySpace, Last.fm was the go to website for music lovers. It had the neat ability to generate charts based on what I had been listening to. Of course, those charts weren’t generated in real-time, because back then almost nothing on the web was real-time. I would check last.fm multiple times at the beginning of a week to see if the charts had been updated. I had friends, who would do the same. We would spend hours every week comparing each other’s tastes, checking out Last.fm suggestions, browsing through the most popular artists, etcetera etcetera. In short, I loved Last.fm.

Then in 2007, Last.fm got acquired by CBS (and I went to college). As always, the news was treated with cautious optimism. While CBS had the money and influence to expand Last.fm’s reach, it could also potentially spell trouble for the website by taking away its trendiness.

Next year, Last.fm rolled out a design overhaul that added several new features, and made dozens of modifications. Although a certain (vocal) section of Last.fm’s dedicated user base didn’t like the changes, my impressions were mostly positive. It allayed my fears about stagnation at the hands of a large corporation.

Unfortunately, since then, it has been mostly one bit of negative news after another. Last.fm stopped providing free streams to everyone other than users based in US, UK and Germany. It allegedly leaked user data to RIAA. The founders left the company. It stopped providing free preview streams for a large percentage of the tracks. And last month, it stopped its free mobile service even in countries like UK, US and Germany.

Being a web based content-provider in the music industry is tough. The record labels are still mostly clueless about the web as a content distribution medium. I would have to admit that most of the stuff I mentioned above were things beyond Last.fm’s control. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they happened, and that they had an overall negative impact on the product’s quality and value. In the meantime, Spotify has come along, and conquered Western Europe. Grooveshark has won accolades by offering high quality music for free to everyone.

To make things worse, Last.fm as a product has stagnated. There has been very little in the way of new features over the past few years. The charting and recommendation engines are the differentiating factors for Last.fm. However, they have seen little in the way of improvements in the last four years. Tight integration of charts with profiles and communities has the potential to make Last.fm an attractive destination for music lovers. But the once coolest kid in the block seems to have lost all its creative energy.

So, are Last.fm’s days numbered? I don’t think so. Although I agree with Stefan’s overall assessment of Last.fm, I believe that Last.fm is still quite far from heading towards oblivion. It might have lost its chance to become the king of online radio; however, its core product is as appealing as it was five years back. Last.fm might no longer be chic, but it still is useful. Even switching to a premium model didn’t make users stop coming back, because Last.fm is a lot more than just an online radio. The thing that makes users coming back to Last.fm is Audioscrobbler, which works from pretty much any music player, and any device.

While I don’t believe that Last.fm is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, I would love to see Last.fm regain its edge. It needs to reorient its website and applications to make them an integral part of a music enthusiast’s life, instead of just being a website you visit a few times a week. Last.fm has to increase user engagement, and one way to do so is to completely revamp user pages. The shoutbox is currently relegated to the bottom of the page where it is mostly ignored by users. If last.fm wants to increase the amount of time users spend on their website, it has to find a way to make users interact with their friends more. The homepage has to do more than just displaying what my friends are listening to now. It needs to implement a site-wide playlist to encourage users to listen to music without using the desktop client. The mobile apps should encourage users to shout out their opinion. Last.fm should also try out of the box revenue generation mechanisms like allowing users to purchase and dedicate songs to loved ones. I don’t want to see Last.fm turning into a Facebook, but it needs to leverage the huge pile of data it is sitting upon better.

What do you think? Do you agree with Stefan? Do you still use Last.fm? Drop a line and let us know.

Last.fm Down For Past 12 Hours

The popular music service Last.fm seems to be down for the past 12 hours and no one really seems to care about it. One of our authors Sathya, just bought a subscription service and the service has been down for him.

Last.fm Logo

I did check with several other people and Last.fm is not loading for them too. So has everyone forgotten about the Last.fm service? Or is is that Pandora has become more popular.

Even the Last.fm blog hasn’t been updated yet with any information. Looks like they don’t care too. Anyways, if you are having trouble accessing Last.fm, you might as well try out some Last.fm alternatives we had written about earlier.

Is Last.fm down for you too? Are you missing it? Do let me know through your comments.

Update: The problem has been going on for the past 18 hours now, Last.fm has been updating their account @lastfm with updates.

We’re really sorry about this, we’ve been working flat out to fix downtime for 18hrs now. As soon as we have a update we’ll let you know.

Update 2: Last.fm has now put up a blog post about the problem, you can view it here http://blog.last.fm/2011/01/21/about-the-last-24-hours. They are saying that the problem occurred due to a hardware failure at the datacenter. Things should be back to normal now.

Best Mobile Apps Of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian–#2

Welcome to the second edition of Best Mobile Apps Of The Week. I hope you liked our first edition of the Best Mobile Apps of The Week. Hopefully, readers will like the second edition as well. In this edition, we will introduce our readers to a scrobbler client for Symbian, a video streaming app for iOS and an application to control iTunes playback on your PC/laptop via your Android handset.

Here are the featured mobile apps of the week for iOS, Symbian and Android:

Air Video (iOS)

Air Video for iOS is one brilliant application. The application streams the video present in the user’s PC either via Wi-Fi or via 3G to his/her iOS based device. The biggest advantage of Air Video is that it is able to stream videos in almost any format to your iOS device. The application also has a very handy feature of converting videos on the fly and streaming it right to your iOS device. Users need to make sure that the Air Video server application is installed on your PC so that the application can work properly.

Air_Video

Air Video is available for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad and users can download it from the AppStore for $2.99.

Mobbler (Symbian)

Mobbler_SymbianLast.fm is a very popular Internet radio site. Many Last.fm clients are available for various operating systems. For Symbian, Mobbler is a very popular Last.fm radio player and scrobbler client. The application allows users to listen to a variety of Internet radio stations offered by Last.fm.

The application is pretty slick as well and supports some useful features like scrobbling all your tracks when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network etcetera. The application supports the different versions of Symbian S60v3 (FP2), S60v5 and Symbian^3.

Symbian users can download Mobbler for free from here.

Remote For iTunes (Android)

In our first edition of the Best Mobile Apps of The Week, we told you about a very handy application for iOS Remote. Today, we would like to introduce you to the Android alternative of Remote Remote For iTunes. Remote For iTunes works exactly like Remote for iOS does. The application allows users to control the media playback of iTunes running on their PC or Laptop via their Android handset through Wi-Fi.

Remote_iTunes

The interface of the application is a pretty simple as well. According to me, one drawback of the application is that it does not feature the CoverFlow UI. Nevertheless, the Remote For iTunes is a must have application if you use iTunes on your PC.

The only difference between Remote for iOS and Android is that while the former is available for free, the latter costs $4.99.

Download Last.fm Tracks with Last Recorder

Love to hear Last.fm tracks ? Why not download them to your computer ? Here is a free tool that can help you do that. Last Recorder is a free tool that can download Last.fm tracks as separately tagged MP3 files. Once you download the program, start it right away. Log into Last.fm account using your account details. Now you choose the station and start recording by pressing the red recording button. When the recording is completed, you can find recorded tracks named as <Artist>/<Album>/<Title>.mp3 in the selected folder.

last-fm-record-tracks-desktop

[Download Last Recorder]

Techie Buzz Verdict :

As I have always been a fan of Last.fm I keep tuned to it all the time wherever I get a browser and internet connection. Now that I’ve found Last Recorder I don’t need an Internet connection every time i want   to listen to my favorite tracks. The tool is intelligent enough to remove white-spaces, Windows incompatible characters from the names of the recorded tracks as well as it can automatically skip already recorded streams. The tool also offers an easy to use interface. The tool is really something Last.fm users should try. The cross platform compatibility makes it usable over all popular OS platforms.

Techie-Buzz Rating : 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Record Last.fm Songs with Last Recorder – But is it Legal?

icon-last-fm [Windows Only] The other day, I ran into a new listing for a freeware application named Last Recorder. Here’s what the author says about this little tool.

Last Recorder is a small program that can save tracks from Last.fm audio streams into separate tagged mp3 files.

While I can’t confirm that I actually used this program to download music, I can confirm that this program does work. It does download full length mp3 songs from Last.fm while preserving the song titles. Here’s what Last Recorder looks like:

lastrecorder-interface

Last Recorder is a single executable file and no installation is needed. When it first launches, it will prompt you to enter your user ID and password. Then you can select a choice of radio stations by using the drop down on the left and these are the options:

Tag
Artist
My Tag
My Radio
My Loved Tracks
My Neighbors
My Recommendations
Custom URL

You will also have to select a download location on the right side drop down box.

Given the fact that this download tool seems to work, the question that many people will have is, Is this legal?. I did find an FAQ on the site regarding this question and the answer was I don’t know for sure.In my opinion, downloading these songs is about the same as recording music from the radio stations or television. Do I think it’s legal? It may be legal to download the information (music), but you are definitely breaking your agreement with Last.fm’s Terms of Use. Whether or not that agreement is actually binding on you may depend on where you live and which way the courts are swinging that day.

So, I’ll leave it up to you.

Last Recorder Home Page

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This application does what it says and it also portable. While those are both good features, the question of it’s legality leaves me doubting that I will use it.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

Last.fm Reveals Top 10 Artists of 2009

Last.fm is the ultimate social platform when it comes to music. Millions of users flock to Last.fm every day to listen to music, manage playlists and find music related information. Now, when 2009 is about to end, they have revealed the top 10 albums of the year based on album scrobbles.

Here’s the list:

10. Kayne West with 6,615,339 album scrobbles.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs with 6,885,404 album scrobbles.

8. Green Day with 7,607,693 album scrobbles.

7. Animal Collective with 7,630,636 scrobbles.

6. Beyonce with 8,642,704 scrobbles.

5. Franz Ferdinand with 8,795,186 album scrobbles.

4. The Prodigy with 8,900,264 scrobbles.

3. Lily Allen with 10,522,633 album scrobbles.

2. The Killers with 12,471,571 scrobbles.

1. Lady Gaga with 18,487,195 album scrobbles.

The data is based on activity from 1st October 2008 through 16th November 2009. Another interesting set of data that was recently published by Last.fm is the Top 1000 by tag list.

Jinni is Now Open to All [Movie Recommendations]

Jinni, called the Pandora of movies moved into public beta earlier last week which means anyone can now sign up and start using it.

Cnet regarded Jinni as “the best recommendation engine on the web. Period.” because, it really is. Thanks to Jinni’s huge movie catalogue, you can search for movies based on Mood, Plot, Genres, Time/Period, Place, Audience, and more.

You feel like watching a cheerful movie – you search for cheerful. You suddenly feel like watching a movie shot in Hawaii there, you have it.

You need not sign up to use the Jinni search. Then why is this open registrations’ a big deal, you ask. Recommendations. You can rate and add to your library, the movies you’ve watched. Just like last.fm recommendations, Jinni will provide you with awesome sweet recommendations once you start telling Jinni your movie taste.

The wait is over. Hop on and start gulping-in movies.  Here are the reviews by ReadWriteWeb and ArsTechnica

Publish Pandora Songs To Last.fm

Pandora and Last.fm are two really good places to listen to music online, however both are different services, but a small script will allow you to publish the music you are hearing on Pandora to your Last.fm account.

PandoraFM is simple. As you listen to music via the excellent Pandora music service each song gets submitted to your profile on Last.FM. You’re listening to music, so why shouldn’t you be able to account for it? Some call it a mash-up, others call it a hack. I call it Pandora.FM.

So go ahead and share all the fantastic music you listen to on both these services, you will need to download and install the Greasemonkey add-on for before you can use this script.

If you are a Last.fm user and are in a country where it will be available as a paid service, you can check out some Last.fm Alternatives which are free.

Download PandoraFM for Greasemonkey

Download Music From Last.fm

Last.fm is a pretty popular service for listening to music tracks online, we love it so much that we have the Last.fm application for Nokia N95 and also recommend it to convert Firefox into a Music Hub.

lastfm-logo

However you cannot easily download the music you listen to on Last.fm, but there are few tools which you can use to easily download music from Last.fm.

Continue reading Download Music From Last.fm

Last.fm Radio Player for Nokia Smartphones [S60 3rd Edition]

I am more into internet radios these days, and love playing music on Last.fm and Pandora radio channels, but having the N95 as my regular companion I was looking for a Nokia smartphone application that would help me play radio channels from the above services on my cellphone.

lastfm-logo nokia-logo

Pandora does have support to play music on cellphones, but currently it does not support any Nokia phones. To my joy, I came across a really handy Nokia application called Mobbler which allows users to play Last.fm radio stations on Nokia S60 3rd edition based phones.

Continue reading Last.fm Radio Player for Nokia Smartphones [S60 3rd Edition]