Music discovery app Last.fm suggests surprises

Aug 29, 2009
Music

Last.fm is one of the better music apps you can choose for your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s a particularly good app for people who are fans of Pandora, as Last.fm lets you create radio stations based on artists you like. Last.fm has some standard features that make it a great choice. You can skip […]

Last.fm is one of the better music apps you can choose for your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s a particularly good app for people who are fans of Pandora, as Last.fm lets you create radio stations based on artists you like.

Last.fm has some standard features that make it a great choice. You can skip songs you don’t like, tag songs you like for more artists playing similar music and the “On tour” feature is helpful if you’re a big concertgoer. If the artist you are listening to is currently on tour, you can push a red banner and get a calendar with the artist’s tour dates and locations.

There is a sharing aspect to Last.fm to make it fun if your friends have it too. If you dig a track, you can pass it along to another member, or send it to someone in your contact list. It’s a nice function for groups of people that share a lot of music.  After downloading the app, users are asked to create a user name and profile that lets you interact with other Last.fm users.

One problem with Pandora is that you tend to get a lot of the same-sounding songs. A similar problem comes with Last.fm, in that the songs aren’t similar enough. For example, I selected Radiohead as my station and got songs by Soul Coughing, The Flaming Lips and Joy Division–none of which sound particularly like Radiohead.

In fact, Last.fm seems pretty bad at picking other artists you might like, but if you like variety, you’ll probably prefer it to Pandora.

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Matthew Hendrickson

Matthew Hendrickson is a freelance writer and Editor and Chief of Jettison Quarterly. He lives in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood and has a degree in journalsim from Columbia College. He has written for the Chicago Journal, The Chicago Reporter, and ChicagoTalks.  His three-part story about lead poisoning rates in Chicago was featured at Propublica.org and IRE.org.

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