As a regular user of the fabulous Last.fm I hardly got excited when their latest update happened. Being a subscriber to the serivce I get to try out the beta versions of any changes so I get advance notice. Sure, you can now visually see how ‘close’ your taste in music is to other users and friends, but I’d skipped over the feature that everyone else seems to be gagging over – the Flash player for the personal radio feature.
The Flash player feature is a big deal mainly because it eliminates the need to download the Last.fm player application – although you’ll still need to install the Last.fm software or equivalent to ‘scrobble’ the music you play on your computer – which is essential to get the most out of Last.fm.
The Flash player means that you can effectively use Last.fm as your radio at work and just ‘tune’ in to anyone’s selection, or any artist’s similar/related music as a continuous stream. You can skip tracks, mark them as ‘loved’, tag them, or tell it ‘never to play that one again’. Being in Flash means that it gets around nasty things like browser incompatibilities, most corporate IT lockdowns and firewalls.
Also they have added location sensitive artist information – namely live shows. This will be an interesting path towards further monetising of the service as Last.fm will be aligning with ticketing agencies and resellers much in the same way they have signed up so many independent labels to stream their music.
If you are curious as to what music I listen to then you can tune to my personal radio now (from my account page) without needing to download anything!
Several other museum web folk are on Last.fm as well and we all have pretty diverse tastes – just browse through ‘friends’ and check them out – and listen to what they listen to!
Last.fm was a big driver for the museum’s team in applying personalisation and taste aggregation concepts to our collection database – possibly more so than other sites that might be more traditionally aligned with a museum.