For the last few years now, I’ve been using last.fm for my music at home (find me under billcode). If I’m not listening to talk radio (online), I’ll be listening to last.fm. Sometimes I’ll check out new groups via myspace (damn is myspace hanging in there!), and until recently, if I wanted to hear a particular song, I’d just head to youtube.

But now I realise what some of this spotify fuss is all about – you can actually play the song you want with ease. Last.fm is all about scrobbling, learning your tastes and keeping a good stream – real radio – going. If you want to hear artists similar to, say, the late great J Dilla, last.fm can provide you with that. Spotify is miles behind in these stakes, offering up a far less specialised choice of streams. ‘Hip Hop’ just isn’t good enough in 2009, even if I can pick the decade.  But it’s one attraction, and the one thing that will keep me from uninstalling it, is the flexibility it gives you with individual artists (well, the mainstream ones on there at the moment). While last.fm can play me a stream of artists similar to J Dilla, if I want to hear his tunes only, I have to skip track when each one finishes, or worse still, put up with previews.  Spotify will play all it has in a nice long row. 

This nice long row of tracks by the same artist is great for listeners, and , if some of those annoying as hell advertisements for blood banks trickle their cash down to the artists, it’s good for them too. We’ll see; when I heard one of them I turned Spotify off, and went straight back to last.fm: only to find that as cool as the new interface on the last.fm site looks, they’ve gone and inserted ads! ‘Cool’ ones by Vodafone aimed at young people! Yuck. This monetisation thing sure is tricky….

At this stage though, I’ll put up with the Vodafone ads over the bloodbank, because last.fm just has more useful functions, a more intelligent design (not to be confused with creationism),  and more importantly, way better, more diverse, musical content. And cooler people using it.

link to Beeb piece.

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