Sunday, February 26, 2006

Last.fm

If you've talked to me a bit in the last couple of weeks, I've probably mentioned Last.fm. It's not for everyone, but I sure as hell like it. The site takes the music tracks that you listen to, categorizes them, and matches them with the thousands of other users that it has. You get to mark tracks that you really like and "tag" what genre they belong too. Those are the options when you're playing your own music.

Last.fm is free music. Literally. There are no commercials, no ads, no bullshit (not yet). You have the option of never playing any of your own music, and simply just playing their web station all day. As a free user, you can play music in various different ways. You can play music tagged as certain genres, such as 'hip-hop', 'rap', 'acid rock', 'pop', whatever... It's incredibly accurate when it comes to that, because of how it matches genres (the matching of thousands of taggers). You can also tell it to play music similar to x..y..z.. The first artist name that I put in was 'Wu Tang Clan' and I was soon attacked with all types of thought provoking artists that I had never heard of before. The third way is called "neighbor radio" where it plays the songs that your neighbors are listening to.

That is one of Last.fm's best features. When you go to play music from the site, the playlist is created by matching with your 'neighbors' on the site who have the most similar taste in music as you. It wouldn't be that great if it only spit the songs that you played right back at you. Instead, you hear music that people with your taste would love. Basically it learns who you are and what you like, and plays songs that you haven't heard before to match that. It takes the music you love, and educates you about everything new that is going on in that genre. Whatever new your neighbors find out about, you find out about also.

It's really a community too. The site recommends all types of things to you based on your statistics, including groups of people with the same taste as you. In these groups, people write journal entries about their musical happenings, concerts, new albums, et cetera. From there, and from your neighbors page, you can click the profiles of everyone you come across. See the music they're currently listening (its all in real time) and all types of charts categorizing their listening. Weekly, Monthy, Most played artist, Most played track, et cetera. You get to view the same type of stats for yourself also of course. Here is my profile page, give the site a try, you might like it. (No, I am not on the Last.fm payroll. Just My Thoughts)

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