Last.fm

Actually, badly designed websites* were not the only thing encouraging me to get broadband. A few weeks ago I ran across last.fm. It looked as thought it might be the kind of music service I had wanted – streaming (don’t have to buy CDs all the time), no commercials, and capable of making suggestions. I started recording CD playing history immediately, hoping to get some recommendations. So I was seriously considering broadband for the first time – it had always been too expensive for my limited use, and some kinds still are. It was only then that the slow web sites pushed me over the edge ;^)

So, I’ve finally played though all of my CD’s and have started using the radio for regular background music. The last few years I went through a long time of not listening to music very much. I suppose mixed results is what I should have expected. A lot of it is no doubt due to a limited selection – for instance, the global tag radio for anything with ‘harp’ has either one or no playable songs. I’ve had slightly more success with the celtic tag, (despite some decidedly mis-tagged tracks) which is a little better represented in popular music. I suppose it’s called popular for a reason, but it leaves us niche listeners out. I suppose I have my CD’s when I need them.

There have been a few discoveries. I heard one good piece from Hans Zimmer, so may keep an eye on him. I’m definitely going to check out the Mediaeval Baebes. (Boy, that sounds bad. Good music, but I might have liked a different name.) There were a few other interesting things, but I’m mainly treating them as outliers so far.

Meanwhile, I’m learning to lower my standards for using ‘love’ and ‘ban’. I might like a more finely graded scale, but I think that last.fm’s rating is based on quantity, (of plays) not quality.

I may also look into Pandora, which appears much better for exploring related music – but one thing at time. I’m also not too keen on the fact that they want a credit card up front, even though there is a free version.

Anyway, I’m on last.fm. Is anybody else?

*(and yes, I’ve found several kinks in my recent site update that escaped me earlier while I was worrying about the flyout menus. The kinks will be fixed… um… eventually)

Posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 under Review.

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