I used to use Pandora.com. I loved it. It showed me all kinds of tracks I didn’t know about. But, then it got steadily repetitive. It couldn’t think outside the specific box I’d given it.
last.fm is different, and it because it does things differently, most people instantly get aggravated and move back to Pandora. Hey, I did that a few years ago myself, but now I was back to try it again.
And now I get what last.fm is doing. It’s not giving you exactly what you want. No, that would be immediately satisfying, but counter-productive. Instead, it plays around, and throws various songs that it thinks may be related. Many songs I end up skipping (there’s no thumbs down in last.fm) a lot of songs. But as I got frustrated again, it suddenly put up a song that I loved, from an artist that I never heard of, in a genre I would’ve never thought of exploring.
That’s what last.fm is all about: listening to what you like, and then recommending any artists that’s related.
And it only gets better. Well, for last.fm users. See, pandora.com is very limited in terms of sharing your music tastes. Sure, sure, you can hang the RSS feeds somewhere. Yes, you can link your friends to your profile page. But last.fm does more than that. It provides an entire API for developers to use to access their database of information concerning you, artists, charts, whatever.
Why should the average user care about this? Well, let me demonstrate using my own personal experience:
- I’ve recently signed up for Facebook (kicking and screaming ;). It has an application that plugs right into last.fm and displays what artists you’ve liked the most recently.
- Facebook can pull in updates from various services, like Hulu, YouTube, Delicious, and, yes, last.fm. If anything significant happens (like you “love” a song) it’ll write it on your wall automatically.
- You can listen to your music anywhere and it’ll log that to your profile. iPod, iTunes, Songbird, Rhytmbox, Winamp, or even their website will all report back to last.fm.
- In fact, unlike Pandora, it allows your friends to see not just what music you’ve been exploring, but what you’ve been listening to on a day-to-day basis.
- The very fact that there’s an open interface to last.fm’s database means that there’s more possibilities on the horizon! last.fm is able to go where Pandora and other music services cannot.
Really, when you get down to it, last.fm is a social music hub, where everyone can check out what other people are listening to, and then use that information to find and discover new artists in new unexplored genres. Try it out for a few weeks and see what you think!