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Last.fm turns 20



politelemon 12d
Last.fm was fantastic when it first came out, it was one of the few instances where I felt that I actually 'owned' the data I was sending to it. I discovered many new artists through it.

I think its decline will probably correlate with people's transition from MP3s to streaming services. It was pretty sad when that breach happened, as that felt like a nail in the coffin.


That said, I do occasionally stumble upon Last FM in search results and it's slightly surprising and slightly pleasant to still see it around.

The 'burgeoning' Discord presence (400,000 total users) doesn't feel like a lot however, it still feels like a niche interest group.

AdmiralAsshat 12d
Still use last.fm. Most "You might like this" algorithms go straight for the low-hanging fruit, and often fail to take any kind of nuance into account.

I can't tell you how many of the streaming services will see my Black Sabbath play history and immediately recommend, "If you like Black Sabbath, you should love...Slipknot!" But I've never had a real person make that mistake, because a real person who looks at my last.fm history and has an understanding of the genre says "Gee, this guy has plenty of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and tons of doom metal on his list, but doesn't have Slipknot, Korn, or Pantera in his history. Maybe that's intentional."

Human review and recommendation still beats algorithmic recommendation by a mile if you have discerning tastes.

wantlotsofcurry 12d
I love Last.fm!

As a small side project I made a CLI tool in Python[1] to retrieve music collages from <tapmusic.net>

[1]: https://github.com/atomheartbrother/tapmusic-cli

unvs 12d
I discovered so much music through last.fm back in the day. There were so many obscure and weird bands to find in their «Related artists» and whole genres I feel I’d never have heard of if not for last.fm
rcarr 12d
I used to be obsessed with Last fm when I was a teenager and was similarly obsessed with music in general. I think I moved away from it probably before my interest in music waned, if I remember right it was because something about the whole “quantify self” movement became off-putting to me. There was something weird about looking at the charts and who your top artists were the same kind of way having a top 8 friends on MySpace was a bit weird - I didn’t need or want to have these things explicitly ranked. I didn’t want to log on to Last Fm and view bands I’d been listening to like they were a sports league table.

It just wasn’t for me in the end but I can see how it’s appealing for other people. For me it will always be a nice little reminder of the mid 00s along with stuff like indie music and the mighty boosh.

sandrob57 12d
I hope Last.FM never goes away; I've been tracking my scrobbles since 2005
jl6 12d
When I come across mentions of new artists, I use last.fm to quickly find out which is the most popular song by that artist, on the assumption that listening to that song will give me the best indication of whether I might like them.
disposition2 12d
Love the service. Been using it for most of its life cycle and pay for the Pro service when I can. I don’t really utilize the features but like to support services I find useful.

It’s no Rdio [RIP :(] but the recommendations from LastFM are probably the best I’ve encountered.

nvr219 12d
I've been using last.fm every day for a little under 20 years - via scrobbler. I visit the site itself maybe 1-2 times a year.
haunter 12d
last.fm was the first internet service I've ever paid for. It was good value and incredibly awesome to discover new music. Then in 2010 they removed the full track streaming [0] and that killed the site for me. Scrobbling stats are nice, but for me the discovery mode was the best.

0, https://web.archive.org/web/20150227221251/http://www.last.f...

ChrisArchitect 12d
Scrobbling is fun, just one of those 'personal data' things to look at from time to time. Last.fm was always corporate/sketchy tho and never got into it/didn't want an account on it.

GNU Libre.fm worked fine for years tho! Nice to have an archive of data just sitting on there. (Lack of hands to work on it to get other features like dumps and more analysis never panned out tho).

But since the pandemic my listening habits on mobile where most of the scrobbling was being done from have changed completely and there's limited support on windows / no long available in things like WinAmp etc, so it's just not a thing anymore. Kinda sad.

djhworld 12d
Last.fm died (as in for me personally) when I stopped cultivating my own music library. I used to have gigabytes of MP3s and FLACs, all neatly organised into folders, usually by artist/album, and meticulously maintained ID3 tags. All played through software like Winamp with the audioscrobbler plugin, or iTunes when I had my beloved iPod classic.

All of that drifted away as I got older, and the dawn of streaming services like Spotify came onto the scene. I'm not sure where my music is now, probably on a hard drive somewhere, dumped amongst other junk.

I think spotify used to come with last.fm support but I think I just lost interest in the whole thing, I don't consume music in the same way as when I was a younger man.

EDIT: Just logged into my last.fm account and it looks like the scrobbling still works from spotify, so it's been scrobbling all this time, probably for 10+ years without me logging in!

Apocryphon 12d
Same as I felt eleven years ago. Last.fm is the rare site that I don't mind to harvest my personal data, because musical taste analytics are fun.


I enjoy using it as a statistics aggregator as well. Last.fm definitely gets credit for capturing the primal sense of achievement with scrobbling. People I know don't really use it as a social network other than friending each other, but even that is sufficient because it allows you to peek into their current musical tastes. It's sort of elegant how Last.fm's experience is pretty much just collecting data and displaying it nicely; no need for apps, uploading user content, or location-based gimmicks. Just listening to your music library is generating content enough.

thebrain 12d
Last.fm has a special place in my life since I actually met someone I was quite fond of through the site. I kept seeing her profile pop up as someone with similar musical tastes. I noticed we lived in the same city so I sent her a message. We corresponded back and forth for awhile, eventually met and then dated for a few months.
dewey 12d
According to my profile I'm scrobbling since 7 Aug 2007. I'm even paying for the "Pro" version just to support the site (and for the feature that allowed me to change my emberassing old user name).

I don't check it very often any more but for some reason I still like to look at the graphs from time to time, even if I don't really hunt down recommendations based on that.

lzooz 12d
Last.fm was cool and had huge community but cbs bought it and rewrote it making it slower, clunkier and removing features, essentially destroying it.

Back in the day practically all players (including spotify) had scrobbling support.

achairapart 12d
Contrary to popular belief Last.fm never really died (and I hope it never will), however it lost years ago its most valuable thing: *its own streaming service*.

It was just perfect at everything, was it finding new releases, discovery obscure gems, or play your favorite things all over. It was so magical that you could hardly believe it was computer generated.

Also, it was a wonderful "sane" social network where music and only music was at its heart: no vanity metrics (eg: counting likes) / vanity egos (eg: influencers) or purely material interests (eg: make money from this or that).

Anyway, it's sad it lost the streaming war pretty soon. Maybe it was just too genuine to compete with services driven by dark patterns, suspicious agendas, and mostly, greed.

Wait, is this a metaphor of the old internet versus the present state of digital affairs? Or am I just getting nostalgic here?

I don't know. Long live Last.fm!

111,920 Scrobbles from 9,137 Artists since Jul 2006.

digitalsushi 12d
With the onset of chronic decision fatigue, I no longer can enjoy the selection of music from my personal curation of mp3s I have stashed away over the past 25 or so years.

Knowing that I generally like the music I have, I have found some huge success with a simple change: I do not in any way allow myself to influence what music is playing.

It's very easy to do. The first version of this was done in my woodshop, because it's creepy back there: a cheap amp with a 64 gig SD card plays the first 64 gig of my music on a loop. I believe it's about a 3 week loop. Whenever I go out there to get a screw driver or drop of a bucket of old paint, there is some OC Remix collection of Legend of Zelda, or some Cowboy Bebop, or their ilk, playing at a reasonable volume. It keeps ghosts out and really increases my pleasure of being out there - just enough distraction to be able to think.

Version two is my now permanent work-from-home office. I have been exploring these Raspberry Pi audio distributions. Volumio, and now a fork of rune audio called rAudio-1. At first I was allowing myself to fall back into the same trap: selecting a folder on a NAS share of the music, but then I rediscovered Web Radio. I left it on a classical music station for a little over 4 weeks, just soft piano music at about 40 dB, barely detectable. My work microphone can't (or wont) pick it up so I let it play right through meetings.

It took me that four months to realize I could install my own web radio station of my own music. With icecast2 and mpd running on an underused virtual machine, I can leave it playing all of my music on a single stream available to only my rAudio-1. Coupled with a 60 dollar add-on DAC to (significantly) clean up the audio quality, and a 30 dollar amplifier that has only a volume knob, my situation is now perfect: I can either listen to what is playing, or I can not. If I don't like what is playing, then I either listen to it anyways, or try later. I'm listening to music 40 hours a week again, and am better for it.

throwaway874839 12d
Nice to see last.fm on the front page, it brings back fun memories when we were mocking each other about leaving the player playing all night just to get the stats up.

Shameless plug: I'm a firm believer that human recommendations are superior, which is one of the reasons I'm creating https://digs.fm, something like Goodreads but for music[1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32551862

bromuro 12d
230k scrobbles since 2006.

I love last.fm, it still has the vibe of the healthy internet. It is cool to dig into my listening history. Last fm suggestions and recs are still the best. The wikis are great for fans.

I miss the times where i was finding friends by shouting to strangers profiles. Just in the love of music.

Long live last.fm!!

627467 12d
Last.fm probably changed hands a few times, yet, to me it is an example of how you don't need to keep shoving features into a product/service to be happy with it.

Contrast thia the regular complains around products like pinboard/evernote. Pinboard gets flack for not changing, and evernote for chasing people with useless features.

fetzu 12d
Last.fm (and the sadly defunct what.cd) have shaped my taste in music beyond what I could ever imagine: I have discovered a massive amount of amazing musicians through these recommendations; something I feel Spotify has never really been able to achieve, even after a decade+ of use.

Scrobbling has almost become a religion to me, to the point I found solutions to scrobble my Vinyl listening and consider scrobbling capability in a player as a make-or-break feature !

karlgrz 12d
Big fan of last.fm and have used it when compiling my "year in review" posts.

It's a great service and, as others have mentioned, it really does a great job of finding obscure and relevant suggestions on underground metal bands that I enjoy.

It's particularly good at high quality, relevant recommendations for new bands with little following.

rchaud 12d
One of the first "Web 2.0" apps I remember using next to Gmail; it was called Audioscrobbler back then. I used the scrobble feature religiously to log my listening habits from 2005-2012.

While Last.fm failed to capitalize on early innovations like the social media features and algorithmic online radio, the "scrobble" feature oddly enough stood the test of time. Even though it was the pre-smartphone age, developers built unofficial applications to let you log your listens from almost anywhere: iPod/iTunes, Windows Media Center-compatible MP3 players, and eventually any audio player that ran the hacked Rockbox OS, including the iPod 5G.

happyjack 12d
I still use last.fm. While I don't find use it's suggestion algorithms or radio function, I think it's amazing to look back at a particular time in my life and see what I was listening too. Or to show people via my profile what kind of music I like.

The only thing I'd wish it'd do is update my play counts from my Sony Walkman NWA.

flerp 12d
I love last.fm, always have been. Started out using the winamp plugin in 2007. I even synced my ipod regularly through itunes & the scrobbler to get stats.
JacksonGariety 12d
I made a website to create a collage from your lastfm albums: https://www.neverendingchartrendering.org/