Radio is Dead! Long Live Last.fm!

October 31st, 2005 | by dan |

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with online radio stations. It’s great to hear new music that you don’t have in your own collection, but it totally sucks to have to wade thru crappy song after crappy song in-between gems. Too often it seems like someone had a collection of a few thousand songs and they just hit ‘shuffle’. Not to say that they all suck, the Atlanta Blues Society has a superb online radio station. Radioio gets an honorable mention for a wide selection of genres and audio formats.

Last.fm runs things a little different. You can get a custom-generated radio station based on a certain artist of your choosing. Now, who remembers musicplasma.com? You could type in ‘Eric Clapton’ and MusicPlasma returns all the artists that are like Clapton (Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Allman Bros, Neil Young, etc). Last.fm creates a radio station based around all those artists. The ‘Eric Clapton’ station includes the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix Cream, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR, The Beatles, etc etc.

There’s iTunes and Winamp plugins, as well as an RSS feed of what has been playing that you can include in your website or whatever.

Did I mention that it’s free?

Read on for more…


The Last.fm is run by the Audioscrobbler crew. They’ve gone thru a great deal of effort to build a music community out of what kind of music you listen to. They give you ‘friends’ and ‘neighbors’ – people with simliar tastes as yourself that you can send messages to. There’s also a public profile page where you can see what someone’s been listening to – and here is where it get a little funky.

They ask you to download a plugin-like thingie that follows what you play in iTunes (or Winamp or Windows Media Player, whatever) and uploads the names of the songs you play on your PC to their servers. They use this data to help better match artists together. If you look way down at the bottom of this page you can see that I listened to the digg.com podcast. I do believe that this list is editable, so you don’t need to announce to the world that you get down to some Britney every once a while (or you can just turn off the plugin, no biggie in my opinion).

There is a wiki that has a dozen different ways to get your RSS feed into a html format. They don’t really promote that there is an RSS feed though – there’s no direct link to it that I can find. I only found the path to mine because some guy had included the path to his RSS in his PHP script.
My Recently Played Music and My Musical Profile. The musical profile seems to be composed of a random selection of songs that I listen to.

Before anyone give me crap for being an overzealous Matchbox20 fan, I just signed up with last.fm only a day or two ago and had one playlist in iTunes going the whole time I was at work that happened to have three of their cd’s.

Last.fm is free but has an optional paid service that gets you some extra doo-dads. I think that they must make most of their cash off of google ads and links thru to amazon.

  1. 11 Responses to “Radio is Dead! Long Live Last.fm!”

  2. By Mike on Oct 31, 2005 | Reply

    Yeah, I know…the “related links” are kind of a joke at times. Its a MovableType plugin that I’ve been meaning to replace with my own scripts that uses the new keywords as well as the categories and anything else I can think of to make it work better. (Right now I think the plugin just uses the category to pull the links)

    For now think of them as “Related” because they all came from this site.

  3. By Mike on Oct 31, 2005 | Reply

    You’re right…this is some very cools stuff. I’m already getting into it! I have however already found one little problem with it. The little tracking program that runs and keeps track of your songs, counts a song as “played” the second it starts going, instead of when the song finishes.

    For instance, I started up iTunes and it randomly played that Kid Rock song Picture that I’ve had on my computer for forever when I made a CD for my girlfriend or something. The song lasted for 2 seconds before I changed it, but yet aI am marked as listening to it. Oh well…a minor gripe for what seems to be a pretty cool music site.

  4. By danielcole on Oct 31, 2005 | Reply

    aside: I think this is the first time that I’ve seen the ‘// Related Articles links powered by icerocket’ have anything at all to do with the actual article at hand. could it be due to the ten thousand links I included in this article?

    For posterity’s sake the related articles:
    http://hellyeahbitch.com/archives/2005/10/262033
    http://hellyeahbitch.com/archives/2005/10/090125
    http://hellyeahbitch.com/archives/2004/04/211717
    http://hellyeahbitch.com/archives/2004/03/091859
    http://hellyeahbitch.com/archives/2004/02/141614

  5. By Mike on Oct 31, 2005 | Reply

    Yeah, I know…the “related links” are kind of a joke at times. Its a MovableType plugin that I’ve been meaning to replace with my own scripts that uses the new keywords as well as the categories and anything else I can think of to make it work better. (Right now I think the plugin just uses the category to pull the links)

    For now think of them as “Related” because they all came from this site.

  6. By Mike on Oct 31, 2005 | Reply

    You’re right…this is some very cools stuff. I’m already getting into it! I have however already found one little problem with it. The little tracking program that runs and keeps track of your songs, counts a song as “played” the second it starts going, instead of when the song finishes.

    For instance, I started up iTunes and it randomly played that Kid Rock song Picture that I’ve had on my computer for forever when I made a CD for my girlfriend or something. The song lasted for 2 seconds before I changed it, but yet aI am marked as listening to it. Oh well…a minor gripe for what seems to be a pretty cool music site.

  7. By Robin on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    Mike you really should stop blaming me if you have any uncool music playing, it is not my fault you like some crappy songs lets not forget Kelly Clarkson.

  8. By Robin on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    Mike you really should stop blaming me if you have any uncool music playing, it is not my fault you like some crappy songs lets not forget Kelly Clarkson.

  9. By danielcole's shocking disbelie on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    Kelly Clarkson???

  10. By danielcole's shocking disbelief on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    Kelly Clarkson???

  11. By Mike on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    I have no idea what that chick is talking about. And speaking of chicks, I think I’m going to dump my girlfriend.

  12. By Mike on Nov 1, 2005 | Reply

    I have no idea what that chick is talking about. And speaking of chicks, I think I’m going to dump my girlfriend.

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