RSS
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit - Finding My Groove

    Mar 17 2013, 14h27

    So after trying a few things I kind of stuck with Grooveshark but also go back to Deezer and continue to use Spotify a few hours per week. For now it seems this is the way to go. The ease-of-use at Grooveshark is just better than Deezer not with everything but with making playlists. Deezer also seems to be bugged with some kind of lag or slowness when processing that. However it seems Deezer has more music available than Grooveshark, well as far as I can tell. Deezer also looks more professional and feels more legal than Grooveshark. The limits of both sites are about equal for the free accounts and are annoying but to be expected as they want you to start paying for more possibilities.

    What I like most about Grooveshark? The drag and drop feature of adding to playlists. The ability to flag tracks that have an issue. The way the website is organized looks better at Grooveshark even if the Deezer once looks more professional, more clicks/steps have to be made to get somewhere. And both lack the folder-option for playlists that Spotify has, very handy. All three also lack in good interaction between users/followers so none feel like a real community. Even without ever using iTunes i get the sense that those who do are part of some special group or community.

    Meanwhile I'm not doing to much at Spotify but I don't think Deezer will take-over from them to lead. Nor will any of the other streaming music websites. The waiting is for Google Music to be available all over the planet, I have no idea what it offers but it will have the potential to become market-leader. I'll share some ideas as what could do that.
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit - 8tracks next

    Mar 4 2013, 10h25

    After trying two weeks at Deezer I had to find yet another streaming service that would also cater my friends. I must say that looking back the switch from Last.fm to another streaming-radio provider was less painful then I thought back in mid December 2012. Ofcourse there are many other listeners who have also made such a switch over the years for various reasons. So again the internet has many people looking for answers for issues related to this, and getting them. Playlists or personalized tag radio-stations made at Last.fm you would want to have at your new SRP (streaming radio provider). So some folks have build websites to help out with that. Although some people like myself who have such expanded libraries at Last.fm that those tools only help out a bit due to set limits on free services. But some help is better than no help and it does keep me linked to Last.fm which I just don't want to leave behind, just yet.

    Through a Last.fm friend came across 8tracks and spent a few days testing that. Again like Presto.fm almost instant gratification after typing almost any artist and finding a connected playlist. I'd rather see that Presto.fm and 8tracks jointed features cos playlists is what I missed at Presto.fm. 8tracks does let you mark songs as favourite but not play them until you've added them into a list. You also don't know if your artist(s) are featured more than once in a playlist unless you made it yourself. So 8tracks is more of an adventure than Presto.fm but with less interaction possible by the listener. It is not interesting for people with extensive tastes who only want to find some new artists but mostly listen to stuff already liked.

    Building a playlist at 8tracks was much harder than expected and very limited as the sources are limited and tracks often are titled incorrectly, so bad to scrobble to Last.fm. So do promising and interesting as 8tracks looks at first glance like Presto.fm and Musicovery it does not seduces to stay. And in anyway not better for me to leave Last.fm for Deezer plus my friends were also not to positive about 8tracks so moving on... again.

    So someone mentioned The Hype Machine, I've had some good experience with finding and listening to electronic music in the 00s. So I could give that a another good try but somehow I was more attracted to trying Grooveshark than The Hype Machine. I guess the look and feel was more like that at Deezer which was my favourite at that point although cause of my friends I was still looking for a good alternative for us all.
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit - more love at Deezer

    Fev 28 2013, 23h50

    I left Presto.fm aside to focus on Deezer. I knew Deezer for some time but never was really putting it to the test. Just had a look-in once or twice than get back to Last.fm or my own MP3s (and sometimes CDs). It was already nearing 15th January and I was at first convinced that Spotify would be the one to focus on but decided to have another look around. Gave Musicovery a few spins and again loved some of the simplicity and ease of use to start without an account. But again slow pageload and strange behaviour of skipping I did not like. My friends liked some of it but again we missed the social part. But to be honest I quickly felt like moving on to something else.

    So once again to Deezer where it was now free for a year for users from The Netherlands. I spend a lot of time this time cos with the changes made since my last visit it was very attractive. No free testing without account but I already had one just never really used it. So come January I rolled over to Deezer for my fix. When testing those websites I first look for some of the more obscure artist and albums I like to see if the meet my needs. They sure did and to cut a short story shorter I could really see this as a great alternative for both Last.fm as Spotify, although nothing really can replace Last.fm. I would still be on there if my Mexican friends would have the same free service as I got. They only get 15 days free and than have to pay. Something I was unaware of until digging deeper in the subscription section for other countries. The free service is great but it did give me a sense of I was looking at a lot of weird album releases, like a U2 album from Latin America or an African nation. Gave me the feeling as maybe Deezer was not paying their artists the full royalties or maybe just a percentage. Also there were loads of Greatest Hits releases with almost identical track-listings often by artists that recorded in the 40s, 50s and early sixties. Ofcourse many streaming websites miss The Beatles and their members, Deezer is no exception to that. Still difficult to find the track I wanted also with correct names and albums connected to them. A mess for scrobbling to Last.fm. Still for a temporary free websites it's got a lot to offer, maybe even more than Spotify. But will I feel the same once I have to pay them as much as Spotify?

    Like Presto.fm I'm sure to return later this year to Deezer and see how it develops and maybe look for those albums, tracks I can't find on Grooveshark. Cos that's where me and my friends are hanging now after a short stop at 8tracks.com.
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit - dating Presto.fm

    Fev 28 2013, 14h36

    So she caught my eye and when I opened the website, it was love at first byte.

    The dark red and grey colour-scheme is soft on the eyes, I detest websites with all that white space. Yeah, less chaos and roomy but also useless and hard on the eyes, like a bright light that's pointlessly shining in your eyes. Who knows how many Gigawatt's of energy could be saved around the world if all that white space would be toned down to darker colours or even black. Well, Presto.fm made a good impression with that.

    Love the Googlesque, simplicity of the layout, you don't need to be a nerd or experienced internet user in order to get it to work. Just type in some artist's name and they do the rest, without even having to sign-in. I guess the involvement of Last.fm & Youtube (stats?) helps building any radio-station. It's not just plain songs you are offered but videos of Youtube. Now, I'm not into watching videos that much but I don't mind it cause it's just in a small window at the top not grabbing all the space of the page. Ofcourse you can maximize it and view the videos in HD if available. Since almost any artists is represented on Youtube Presto.fm can build a station instantly.

    Also very cool is that besides artists, you can also build a station on a genre such as "classic rock". And even better very many tags of Last.fm are available as radio-stations, even obscure tags as "Mare Tranquillitatis" :-) Although it looks at artists in general connected to that tag and not to albums or songs, is my experience. If you open an account and sign-in you have some extra benefits like building a collection of favourite artists and start a radio around that. You can also save radio-stations build-up out of several genres or artists. They do recommendations and have a list of popular stations. All very easy to use and move around the website. So why aren't they more known, more popular? All the simplicity is also limiting it's reach, no likes or shares or community not even a forum. When I first visit it they had about 700 likes on Facebook and now 2 months on it's "climbed" to 875, so 2-3 likes added daily. So not many talking about it even though it's free and no adds in sight, it seems not to appeal that much.

    I guess partly due to so many big players being out there, Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Grooveshark of which some with a lot of money. But the main problems are of stability, the website is not always available, a very big problem! Some videos do not play or have content that is not by the artist but some fan cover or a remix or a poor live recording. I dismiss about 1 in 15-18 videos. The volume on those videos is also an issue, some are to soft and others to loud. The website also feels a bit slow not just when building a new radio-station but also when marking an artist favourite. It works with all browsers as far as I know and I've used Opera & Pale Moon (Firefox). I think the slowness is due to to many images loading even if not within the visible space of the browser.

    I still like the general idea of Presto.fm but it's not as interactive or social as Last.fm is. If I want a radio station that offers me 3-4 songs an hour by the artist I want to hear at that moment, I can. That is also great that the similar artists radio can be tweaked that way. I love to come back to Presto.fm and see some social interactive improvements but for now my friends and I have to leave it. Specially when I heard that Deezer was gonna be free in The Netherlands for a year.
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit > finding a new lover

    Fev 27 2013, 11h01

    So after the sad news hit us mid December we could just sit still and wait for "the end", like that was not a theme close to 21-12, or we could go out and see what else is out there. Streaming definitely broke through to the masses in 2012 so there was much more choice then 2007 when I stumbled upon Last.fm.

    Great thing about the internet in the 10s is that there are so many reviews available online about just any subject, often in English but in countries with a high internet penetration also in the local tongue. I found a good Dutch one: www.digimuziek.nl.

    I was already using Spotify from 2011 when it was made available in The Netherlands however it did not have a radio feature. I was also missing a lot of community interaction plus non of my friends was using it (or very much). So, no sharing or talking about new releases. Since some of my friends live in other countries I also had to take this in account. Not all streaming services are available worldwide or just have an English language website or only available at higher cost.

    I listen to Spotify Free for 2 hours a week but not to the recently introduced radio feature as it has not enough possibilities for interaction. Like many I would have rather paid (a little) more to last.fm to have it's streaming service continue but that was not possible. Spotify has a lot on offer and only cost a little more than Last.fm but the jump is to big to just go for that. The differences between Last.fm and Spotify are so many that it feels like settling for second best. Maybe in the future with the browser version it could change enough to be as attractive as Lfm we'll have to wait and see.

    So what did become the first candidate to have a peek at? Well for some reason or another Presto.fm just jumped of the page even before I had read anything about the site. Mere (internet-)name alone was enough to get me interested. I guess anything that was named similar tot Last.fm was incend to have a look. So I did and was very much in love from the start.
  • Kicking the Last.fm habit

    Fev 26 2013, 13h21

    It was quite a shock, the news that broke on 15th December. I had to read it several times as I thought I had misread it. But no! For sure this was gonna effect me too.

    Only weeks earlier I was very pleased with the cross-section of music Last.fm was offering me. After 2 years "work" of adding, tweaking, tagging, voting on auto-corrections, ID3 checking I was finally getting very pleased listening to My Library radio. But then came the nasty notion, that all would be wasted if Last.fm should go out of business. How was I to know that this was about to happen.

    It's not the money invested over the years and not that I got my friends to subscribe either. Suddenly I was aware I had something very precious and I was going to loose it soon and my friends felt likewise. What to do?

    At first I wanted to end my subscription right-away but that I thought I could still enjoy it's service for one more month. And maybe someone would soon reveal that this was all some sort of sick joke. Or maybe there was a typo or a mistake was made and it would not effect me or my friends. Or maybe some miracle would happen and this intention to stop streaming radio in most countries would be halted. Yeah, grasping at straws. Soon it sunk in that all I could do is wait.