Last.fm is a music-streaming site that has its focus firmly on being a music recommendation service. Once signed up to the site, you can search for an artist or track from the 11.7-million strong catalogue and then access ready-made playlists that contain music by that artist as well as tracks from similar artists. There’s some 26 genres to choose from including ambient, metal and electronic as well the usual pop, rock and soul. The service offers a streaming quality of 128Kbps and really comes into its own through its use of ‘scrobbles’ – little notes sent to last.fm that identify the track the user is playing.
'Scrobbling helps us tell you what songs you play most often, which songs you like the most, how much you’ve played an artist over a certain amount of time, which of your friends have similar tastes… all kinds of stuff. By focusing on the music you already play we can help you discover more music,' the team at Last.fm says.
You can further enhance your recommendations from last.fm by entering their favourite artists into their profile, importing their ‘liked’ artists from Facebook or even by letting the software trawl their hard drive and identify their existing music collection. Integration with Facebook and Twitter means users can share their music finds with friends, and there’s even the ability to download tracks using the quick links to 7Digital, Amazon and iTunes.
Just like Spotify, the streamed tracks are peppered with ads, but this ensures users can listen from their PCs for free. However, while mobile apps are available, they don’t offer free music streaming. Instead you must fork out £3 per month to use the apps, which are available for Apple’s iPhone and Google Android handsets, and allow users to listen to their playlists when they have a net connection on their handset.