5000 Song Played Recap


Mai 7 2007, 1h15

I first noticed last.fm when it always came up in searches while compiling album artwork for iTunes and my iPod. In January on an invite from ChickenChoker I joined last.fm - beginning the marathon to catalogue my music. What unfolds is an excellent tool for music collection access between my PC laptop at work, Apple iBook at home and iPod everywhere else to track all the music I choose to listen to in the various places I listen to it.

At first I used the internet radio through the Last.fm app on my PC and clicking wildly ended up listening to Monty Python - Money Song and a bunch of other comedy tracks I'd heard before but wasn't what I would normally listen to. So somewhat unimpressed I didn't really scrobble anything for a couple of weeks.

After a while I picked it up again and spent some time and put together the top 300 top played songs on my laptop and scrobbled them overnight - thinking it would be an easy way to get a playlist together I could listen to the next day - to date these are my only fake scrobbles and I didn't feel guilty as I'd listened them a ton recently.

When I tried listening to my personal radio the next day I found that a subscription was in order to attempt this and I didn't have enough scrobbles to allow for the radio station to play only my 300 songs and be compliant with the Last.fm internet radio license conditions. Being a bit of a music snob and not wanting to listen to William Shatner again any time soon I decided to begin the task of scrobbling my 20000 plus song collection.

Initially I would play songs from either of my laptops connected to an external hard drive which up until now had served as my way of playing music at work and home with the same files on two different OS - using my iPod for the daily commute and everywhere else. At first it achieved the job of scrobbling tracks as I played the songs through iTunes but after about 1400 songs scrobbled on two laptops and no real good way of tracking what I had already played on both I realized I would need a better way of systematically scrobbling tracks and tracking them against one source - my iPod - to make this effort at all efficient.

I then made a search for iPod scrobbles and came across the iScrobbler group - after reading through the technical posts to get the iScrobbler software up and running - I was set to scrobble the first 10000 cherry picked songs I loaded onto my iPod. To make sure I scrobble all the songs on the iPod I created a playlist that listed all the songs having a last played date before the date I set it all up in mid March. At home I hook up my iPod to my Mac laptop and scrobble right off the iPod which lets me filter and modify playlists through iTunes. Once I disconnect any song I play gets scrobbled when I reconnect it to my laptop. The only real limitation is that any songs I play on my iPod are not scrobbled if I scrobble on either other computer before resynching my iPod - though any songs played on the iPod after the last laptop scrobble will be scrobbled on reconnect to the laptop.

To give you an idea I've played at least 2400 different tracks on the iPod in the 3600 scrobbles since and the iScrobbler software is generally reliable and a good alternative to the more bloated regular last.fm application if all you are doing is scrobbling and tagging - though it's somewhat buggy with mostly simple workarounds that usually consist of re-entering my password.

Once I had the scrobbling process down I focused more on scrobbling songs to be included on my radio station - continuing to scrobble the tracks I wanted listen to at home and on the iPod and testing out the radio station, loving and tagging songs on my PC at work. I found that until I hit 3500 to 4000 songs I would still get not enough content messages from the last.fm application periodically - though they have decreased gradually and are infrequent to rare now. This is especially true of loved tracks radio - and I imagine personal tag radio as well.

Along the way I became interested in how last.fm generates the compatibility-o-meter between users, how it recommends artists, and how scrobbled free downloaded songs seem to get more rotation. Not suprisingly if I play a lot of Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, and Feist my compatibilty with ChickenChoker goes up - something I was able to do quite easily in a couple hundred scrobbles. Also not surprisingly the artist recommendations provided are usually in my collection already - currrently I have Elliot Smith,Modest Mouse, The Strokes,Cat Power and Blur recommended from my collection but not scrobbled. The final non-suprise is my observation that free downloaded scrobbles such as The Legends - Call It Ours and other free songs seem to get more rotation than other songs on my radio station. To be realistic these are only observations not something I've tested thoroughly.

Up next: I've started tagiing extensively and will try out tag radio and hopefully another entry for 10000 scrobbles. Kudos for last.fm and the pleasant surprise that it has turned out to be.



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