July 28, 2008

Last.FM – Discover New Music Effortlessly

I think it’s safe to say everyone enjoys music at one level or another.  The challenge for most of us, however, is finding the time to uncover new artists and other music that fits our particular tastes.  Even more difficult is describing what type of music we’re actually seeking.   This is where the online music service provider, Last.FM steps into the picture.

Last.FM examines your music listening habits through one or more of it’s “scrobbling” software plugins which work with audio players such as iTunes or Windows Media Player.  Your play history is automatically compared with other Last.FM users and combined with the data found in the immense Music Genome project, an open-source initiative which catalogs songs to identify similar sounding music.

Armed with intelligence, Last.FM swings into action to provide artist and song recommendations, a personalized streaming radio station, and introduce you to other people with similar music preferences.

(Scroll down for screen shots)

Practical Uses:

  • Enjoy listening to a personalized radio station custom-built around your preferred music styles
  • Learn which music artists resemble Earth Wind & Fire
  • Network with other people who enjoy listening to Blues

Insider Tips:

  • Train the system by flagging songs as ones that you really love or ban those that you hate
  • Don’t expect to see perfect results immediately – song recommendations will improve dramatically over time

What we liked:

  • A plethora of software plugins means you don’t have to change your habits in order to provide Last.FM with our listening history
  • Opens the door to amazing music you might never have discovered
  • Last.FM allows the use of third-party plugins and data feeds which can greatly enhance your experience

What we didn’t like:

  • The online radio player can be confusing for some users
  • Recommendations are based on the description contained within your music files making the system prone to incorrectly-idenifying songs (will likely be rectified by integrating with


Company Info:

  • Launched in: 2002
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: London, England
  • Founder: Felix Miller, Martin Stiksel, Michael Breidenbruecker and Thomas Willomitzer
  • Web site:


  • Free (funded by advertising)


  • 4 out of 5 (great)

Screenshot of Last.FM while logged into the site

Screenshot showing music recommendations
Screenshot of Last.FM online music player
Screenshot showing Last.FM events by geographic area
Screenshot showing Last.FM media charts for the past week

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