Do you remember Last.fm?
The service launched in 2002 as an online music database, recommendation service, and music-focused social network 5 Music Apps Worth Listening To Now That Grooveshark Is Dead 5 Music Apps Worth Listening To listen now that Grooveshark is dead The quest to discover new music never ends Grooveshark has closed, but others continue to make it easier, or just better, to find and enjoy new music. Read more . Some 30 million users were amassed along the way, before quietly slipping out of the public consciousness.
It seemed likely that the next thing we'd hear about Last.fm would be when it was acquired and then shut down by Google, Apple or Spotify. But no, Last.fm is back..
With a new redesign now available as an open beta, Last.fm is heading on its own comeback journey. We've taken another look at the service to help you decide if Last.fm is worth revisiting.
One of the reasons Last.fm struggled is that it always tended to overextend itself. It was a little bit of Facebook, a little bit of Pandora, a little bit of Bandcamp, even a little bit of MySpace. However, it never effectively competed with any of these.
Last.fm never took off as a social network. The “Radio” The new evolution of music consumption:how we got here The evolution of music consumption:how we got here The rise of the iPod, the mobile phone with music playback and a The number of streaming media platforms points towards a single simple idea:music is important. But how do we get here? Read more . The “The Artists” pages are noticeably lacking in input from the actual artists.
So last year, and in the face of huge financial losses, falling revenues and job cuts, the CBS-owned service announced that it would refocus on its core feature:data. The new redesign is the result of that decision.
Last.fm data comes from scrobbling. With the proper software installed scroblr:Scrobbles The music you listen to on the web For Last.fm [Chrome] scroblr:Scrobbles The music you listen to on the web For Last.fm [Chrome] Read More on your computer or phone, the metadata of each song you listen to are charged to your account. Over time, it builds a complete record of your listening tastes and habits.
Combine the data for millions of users, and you have the foundation for a powerful and accurate music discovery engine. Forgotify helps you discover unwanted music on Spotify. Forgotify helps you discover unwanted music on Spotify. Spotify has 20 million tracks waiting to be found. and loved. This is where Forgotify comes into the equation. It's dedicated to delivering the undiscovered tracks that no one has played on... Read More
Streaming services also collect this type of data, but none make it publicly accessible, and you lose all of it if you switch to an alternative service. This is what gives Last.fm its unique selling point.
Scrobbling support is built into Spotify Spotify Music Streaming:The Unofficial Guide Spotify Music Streaming:The Unofficial Guide Spotify is the biggest music streaming service out there. If you're not sure how to use it, this guide will walk you through the service and offer some crucial tips. Read More For those not directly supported, there are Last.fm apps for Windows, Mac, Chrome, iOS, and Android that can be downloaded from most other music services.
Your listening history is at the heart of Last.fm's new look. Previously, even trivial tasks, like checking which was the most streamed album of the past year, were difficult, if not impossible, for no real reason. Third party tools, using Last.fm public APIs 3 Neat Web Services to view and analyze your Last.fm profile 3 Neat Web Services to view and analyze your Last.fm profile With over 215,000 streams since 2008, I have always been a firm believer in Last.fm. If you like to socialize online, it's much easier to link a friend to your Last.fm profile... Read More
Now it's possible to drill down into his history, so if you want to see exactly what you were listening to six years ago, you can.
Right now, this is the limit on how you can use the information. It would be nice if the service finally allowed you to go further and create filters based on location, gender, popularity and more.
The data is also used to present a series of recommendations to help you find new music. These are based on combinations of acts that you have heard in the past and are quite effective. Tight integration with Spotify allows you to play some, but not all, of the recommended tracks, for reasons that remain unclear.
Like all website redesigns, Last.fm's new look will come as a shock to existing users. The overall design feels fresh, with larger images and less clutter, but more things to click on.
Hardcore users tend to prefer information-dense screens, so they may not be too happy with the broader feel. For new or lapsed users, it finally looks like a modern website.
There is no better illustration of how much Last.fm has been neglected than the fact that the new responsive design What makes responsive web design work? What makes responsive web design work? So how does responsive web design work? What makes for a smart, effective and responsive website? Read More
As a beta version, the site inevitably still needs optimization, and the user interface (UI) could use a bit of refinement too.
There are long-standing features that have been removed or not yet implemented in the new design. One example is the "Neighbors" feature. This list of users with similar tastes, and it was a great way to find new music, similar to a real-life friend recommending their new favorite band SongKick - see full history of favorite bands SongKick - see full history of concerts of favorite bands Read more. Replacing “Friends” with “Followers” and “Following” can be unpopular as well.
Potentially the biggest new feature of the new Last.fm, and the thing to get people to spend more time on the site, is the playbar. This ubiquitous controller at the top of every screen pulls tracks from what's described as "multiple sources," which at the moment means Spotify (must be signed in) and YouTube (along with your videos in a small window on the bottom right of the screen).
Last.fm's revamp is welcome and long overdue. It also makes the service much more in line with how people use it. It's not a comprehensive music service that replaces all the others you use, but a complement to them, and a way to show off your (amazingly) amazing taste in music to the world.
It remains to be seen if this will be enough to get people flooding back into Last.fm. To test the beta version you need to log in to the site. Maybe it's time to find out your old username and password and relive some of your music memories.
Are you a Last.fm user? What do you think of the new redesign? What other services do you use to manage and find music? Please let us know in the comments below!