Last.fm is at the same time a Webradio and an Internet site proposing a system of collection of statistics and recommendation of music. The site is currently proposed of versions English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish and Chinese.
Principle of operationIn order to supply the site in statistics of listenings, it is necessary to install a Plugin named AudioScrobbler, and which retransmet with Last.fm the list of the pieces which the user listened to with his Multimedia player or its Walkman. It is also possible to use a multimedia player who integrates this plugin, such as for example Amarok. This makes it possible the system to provide a detailed analysis of the music listened by each user, showing for example his favorite artists or its pieces on its personalized page (but accessible to all).
The system generates musical recommendations for each providing user of the statistics. He also proposes to listen to artists that it would be likely to appreciate, thanks to a system of collective Intelligence.
History of Last.fmAudioscrobbler was in the beginning a computing project of Richard Jones (RJ) when it was at the university of Southampton to the the United Kingdom. It was then about a Community Web site recovering and making it possible to post statistics on the music which listened to its members. RJ developed the first plugin, and created a API for the community, in order to be able to support any kind of platform and operating systems.
Last.fm was created in 2002 by Felix Miller, Martin Stiksel, Michael Breidenbruecker and Thomas Willomitzer, Austrian and German. It was then of a webradio and a Community site, using the musical profiles of its users to generate dynamic lists of reading. Two buttons " love" and " ban" allowed the users to personalize their musical profile. Thanks to this idea, Last.fm gained the Europrix in 2002 and was named for the Prix Ars Electronica in 2003.
The teams of Audioscrobbler and Last.fm started to work together and gathered in offices common in the district of Whitechapel to London. In 2003, Last.fm was completely integrated into the profiles of Audioscrobbler . The tenders of the users could either be done by the plugin Audioscrobbler , or by the webradio Last.fm . The two sites also divided the same forums, although they remained specific for each site.
During the summer 2003, the development of a new version combining the two sites does not start and the August 9th 2005, the two sites do not do any more but one, using domain name Last.fm . Domain name audioscrobbler.net is used for the development of the plugins or other tools.
In May 2007, CBS repurchases Last.fm for 280 million dollars.
UpdatesThe policy of Last.fm is to propose to the subscribers of the site to test the future functionalities of the site and to deliver their opinion at the time of beta tests.
Beta of the October 20th 2006New beta test is proposed to the subscribers of the site. They are many graphic improvements. Indeed, the pages of artist from now on are divided into two parts. The left part contains information concerning the artist, the right part contains information on the users listening to this artist. In addition, a management system and of recommendation in concerts and festivals are set up. So on this date, the concerts located in Great Britain are automatically referred in the system, the users of the other countries must for the moment to refer the concerts manually. Lastly, a reader of radio operator programmed in Flash is added in order to listen to the webradios since a navigator Web.
Beta of the December 6th 2006The versions German, Spanish, French, Italians, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean and Chinese are launched in beta release reserved for the test by the subscribers. Each version of the site was translated by a professional translator and each version is " gérée" by a manager who belongs to the team. Its mission is to correct the mistranslations and to defer the errors to the other members of the team.
Beta of the January 24th 2007A new beta release modifies the rules of use of the radios. Henceforth, all the users can listen to their personal radio. Moreover, engineering changes make it possible to include the reader Flash Last.fm in his blog or Myspace. Other functionalities, like the " Playlist" - a compilation of a few pieces which you make be reproduced on your personal page or the " contact importer" - which makes it possible to seek friends on Last.fm by providing his address email GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Email or AOL Email - makes their appearance. In addition, the Last.fm customer exists from now on in all the languages supported by the Last.fm site.
Beta of the March 27th 2007In addition to light modifications of the graphical interface, Last.fm proposes with this new version of new functionalities concerning the events (concerts). Their research is now opened with all the users (even not registered). It is of more possible to propose photographs of the last events and concert halls by downloading them on Flickr and by qualifying them with a special Tag.
Functionalities of Internet siteThere are two ways of creating a musical profile on Last.fm
- first is to listen to music thanks to a multimedia player equipped with AudioScrobbler.
- second is to listen to one of many the Webradio that Last.fm proposes.
The recommendations are calculated thanks to a algorithm of collective Intelligence and proposes with the user to discover other artists who it is likely to like. The user will be able to then listen to them thanks to the webradio for example.
Paying accountsLast.fm proposes to subscribe with its service for 3$, 2,50€, 1,50£ or 350¥ per month. In addition to the fact of helping Last.fm financially, that makes it possible the user to obtain the statute of subscriber who gives him moreover:
- the disappearance of publicity on the site
- a priority access to the site and the waiters of radio
- More options in the reader of radios (like the " mode; découverte" , which make it possible to discover new artists)
- the possibility of seeing a list of the last users having consulted the page of profile
- an editor making it possible to create an image by choosing the colors, style, etc starting from information of the user profile
- a distinctive icon of blue color in front of the Pseudonyme of the user
- the possibility of profiting from the updates of the site before the others (access to the site in beta release on real data)
Last.fm multimedia playerTo listen to the webradio of Last.fm, the user must install a specific multimedia player. The reader shows various information on the played song, like the name of the artist, the album, the title of the song, as well as an image of the small pocket of the disc. The music is diffused in Streaming Mp3 with 128 kbit/s.
There exist several software to listen to the webradios of Last.fm
The Last.fm applicationAvailable for Windows and Mac OS X and Linux since the update of July 14th, 2006, this application developed by the team of Last.fm makes it possible at the same time to the users to read radio operator flows of Last.fm and to subject the titles of the pieces played by their favorite reader. The user has thus nothing any more but one software to install.
This software allows the edition of the user profile, such as for example the suppression of an artist or a song of the lists " Aimé" , " Banni" , " Sauté". It also allows tagger without having to launch a navigator external Web. The new software also allows the creation of a personalized webradio based on several artists rather than on a single artist.
Last.fm Player FlashLast.fm Flash Player is an application programmed in Flash making it possible to listen to the streams last.fm in a navigator Web. This reader allows the users not being able to install the application Last.fm player to listen to the webradios of Last.fm and to subject the pieces played in their profile.
Last.fm player (null and void)The Last.fm reader is the former reader of streams of Last.fm, available for Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Linux also allowing to read radio operator flows of Last.fm. The reader posts information of the played audio track, as the title, the name of the artist, the name of the album, as well as the small pocket of the disc, if this one is available. This program did not make it possible to subject the titles of the tracks played with another software.
AmuaAmua is a reader of streams Last.fm for Mac OS X. Its characteristic is to be integrated discreetly in the bar of menu and to consume very few resources system.
Last.fm proxyLastFMProxy is a script written in Python which makes it possible to the users to listen to the radio of Last.fm by using their usual multimedia player.
Online Last.fm PlayerOnline Last.fm Player is a script PHP opensource which makes it possible to listen to the streams lastfm on a Web page. That allows the users not being able to install the application Last.fm player to listen to the webradios of Last.fm. A version of demonstration can be found here:
AmarokAmarok makes it possible since version 1.4.1 to play the webradios Last.fm. The users of preceding the version of the software can also install LastamaroK script, based on LastFMProxy.
BMPxBMPx included basic a advanced management of the webradios Last.fm as well as the increase of the played pieces. Moreover, it is possible to make recommendations on the pieces read.
Shell.FMShell.FM is a reader for Last.fm in mode comforts under Linux.
Last-exitLast-exit is a graphic reader for Last.fm especially conceived to be integrated perfectly into the graphic environment GNOME. It integrates all the functionalities of the official readers.
The plugins AudioscrobblerBefore the last version of the Last.fm software, integrating the webradio and the plugin, the transmission of the name of the listened songs required the installation of a plugin specific to the multimedia player used. This plugin exists in various versions, for various platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Xbox…) and can be integrated into various multimedia players (Windows Media Player, ITunes, XMMS, Rhythmbox, AmaroK…)
The plugin is available for the following applications:
- amaroK (integrated office and support of the webradio)
- Beep Media Player
- Gmusicbrowser (plugin nonofficial)
- Jajuk (English wikipedia page)
- J. To rivet Media Center
- Listen (integrated office)
- MPD (plugin nonofficial, mpdscribble)
- Muine (plugin nonofficial)
- MusikCube (plugin nonofficial, beta release)
- Quintessential Player /QCD
- Quod Libet
- Rhythmbox (integrated office in the last version)
- Songbird (proposed with the remote loading as of the first execution of the program)
- Windows Media Player
- Xbox Media Center
To consult the complete listing of the plugins
Other software third party
Recent Last.fm tracks widgetRecent Last.fm tracks widget is a Widget of office making it possible to post the last titles played by a user.
Last.fm dashboard widgetLast.fm dashboard widget is a widget of office making it possible to post the last messages of the shoutbox of a user.
Last.fm and walkmen
- jscob2: jscrob2 for IPod
- YamiPod: YamiPod for IPod
Statistics of listeningLast.fm proposes many statistics starting from the musical profile of the user, such as for example the most played artists, the most played pieces, the most listened albums… He is also proposed the same statistics per week.
Moreover, statistics are also available for each artist. One can thus consult the most listened titles of an album or an artist.
These same statistics are also available for the user groups. In addition, other statistics are available, like the geographical distribution of the users in the group.
Lastly, there exist also weekly statistics of the best artists, who take into account the artists and the pieces most played on Last.fm during the past week.
System of recommendations
Radio operator Web of the musics recommendedLast.fm recommends to the users certain pieces and artists according to the musics which they listen to.
It is about a personalized page making it possible to listen to music directly recommended by other users, or groups to which the user belongs. It is also possible to listen to its " recommendation radio" , constituted of the musics recommended to the user during the previous week.
Recommendation in concertsA system of recommendation in concerts was set up in October 2006. This system makes it possible the user to see the list in the concerts corresponding to its musical tastes and being around its geographical area, in a perimeter which it can itself define. If the concerts in Great Britain are imported in an automatic way, the concerts in the rest of the world are imported in a manual way by the users of the site. Thereafter, the users can " inscrire" with a concert and to visualize which other users of Last.fm attend this concert.
TagsAnother functionality of Last.fm is the possibility of " tagger" music. The users can indeed apply a keyword to an artist, an album or a song. It is then possible to traverse among the tags, to listen to the webradio associated with a tag. The tags can describe a musical genre (" garage rock"), a mood (" chill"), a characteristic of the artist (" baritone"), or then a very personal classification (" singer with découvrir").
- French Version of Last.fm
- Site of development of Audioscrobbler with the specifications of the protocol
- Last.fm misadventure
- Europrix winners
- BT DIGITAL Music Awards 2006 in the " category; Better community musicale"
Easter EggsOne can find on Last.fm of many Easter egg S, or jokes of programmers. Here is a nonexhaustive list.
David Hasselhoff would belong to the development team of Last.fm, as one can see it here
- Matthew Ogle, programmer in the development team of Last.fm, would be a recognized musician. A page of artist is devoted to him here. Songs are regularly subjected by users of the site and members of the team. In addition, an album was created of all parts without its knowledge by other members of the team. A fan club was also created on this site, in which one learns that a new album in collaboration with David Hasselhoff would be in preparation.
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