By Last.fm Ltd.
Before Spotify, there was Last.fm, a music discovery tool that pioneered music social sharing. Though Last.fm’s in-app radio isn’t anything to boast about, this app is essential for music lovers due to its new-music recommendations, social broadcasts and even concert suggestions.
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In a way, Last.fm was Spotify before Spotify was Spotify. Though much is made about Spotify’s massive streaming music library (and rightfully so), that’s only half of its genius. The rest of it involves the creation of a music-listener social network.
Now, while Spotify gets to piggyback on Facebook’s network, Last.fm has been connecting music lovers on its own for years. You know how when you listen to music, Spotify totals up song plays, artist plays and album plays and throws them onto your profile? There’s a word for that: scrobbling.
Scrobbling is simply the act of keeping track of the music you listen to and posting to your profile. And Last.fm invented it. So how do Spotify and Last.fm differ? The biggest difference is that Last.fm is much less a music player and much more a tool for music discovery.
The app keeps track of all the music you listen to, no matter the source (iTunes, Spotify, etc), and connects you to your friends. See what they’re listening to, and learn about new bands. Last.fm has extensive bios on thousands of bands and artists. Last.fm will also take your music-listening data and use it to suggest new bands you’ll probably like. Because it’s pulling from all of your track plays, the process is far less “guess and check” than Pandora (which takes a while to get to know you, and starts fresh with new stations). Its suggestions are surprisingly good.
The social angle extends slightly into the real world, with in-app concert listings and concert recommendations. You can let the app (and therefore your friends) know which shows you’re going to and see which of your friends might be joining you.
Last.fm does provide in-app radio, but it’s hard to recommend it over Pandora or Spotify. Even though Spotify certainly didn’t invent social music listening, it did change the game with its mammoth and accessible library.
Happily, however, you can still Last.fm-scrobble through Spotify.
Reviewed: Jul 23, 2012 | Nick HurwitchAlso featured on: iTunes Radio vs. Pandora vs. Google Music All Access, Also featured on: 5 Best Music App Alternatives to Spotify