As someone already devoted to another music platform my introduction to Spotify was met with not a little scepticism. ‘Surely this can’t be better than Last.fm, I thought to myself as I curiously downloaded the app and signed up.
Well it turned out I was wrong.
Well ok perhaps not completely wrong. A common theme amongst most folks is to position Spotify and Last.fm as direct competitors. While there are some superficial similarities, the case is oversimplified since Spotify and Last.fm each provide many unique features. The more I use both, the more I see how they can work together. Last.fm helps me discover new music and track my listening habits through the years and seems to be more of a social networking platform while Spotify sits on top playing most of the actual music.
In actual fact the two organisations are increasingly working together with the introduction of a new facility to scrobble tracks from Spotify to the Last.FM profile. If all this sounds like chinese to you and you like your music, I strongly suggest getting registered and giving both sites a try.
I personally dont use Last.FM to play much music anymore, opting instead for scrobbling from my home theatre PC running windows media player. I prefer to use the scrobbling feature to collect up all my listening habits into my profile and thus enable the social networking and music recommendation side of the platform using spotify to listen to tracks I dont actually have in my own library. Another cool feature of spotify is the ability to quickly import other peoples playlists into the app and listen straight away (www.spotifyplaylists.co.uk).
All in all its a fantastic combination which, when used in tandem with ones own MP3 music collection is about as good as Web3.0 for muso's can get.
Some other useful counterparts to the two core apps are shown below:
- freshspotify – Tracks newly released music on Spotify and compares it with your favourite artists on Last.fm. Subscribe to artist RSS feeds (or email) to be notified of updates. This is a really useful service: you can browse the site (which nicely summarizes the new Spotify releases) and sign in whit a google account to add artist alerts based on your Last.fm profile (up to a maximum of 100 artists).
- Spotify.fm – Frank Quist’s new and improved webtool to list the latest Spotify releases of all your favourite artists on Last.fm. Also has a neat RSS feed and the ability to search based on both username or tag and search on similar artists.
- Spotify updates from Last.fm – This app can look for any artist in your library (not just your top 50 artists) and lets you specify the playcount range to consider too. It will also return recommended artists, so this is a great way to discover more music from artists you’re perhaps not too aware of, and complements the other apps well. Developer OnDistantShores (who is also responsible for the excellent Universal Scrobbler) promises more updates soon, including the option to specify a tag and search new releases by artists with that tag: brilliant!
- Last.fm Spotify Search – Script that adds a wee green note icon next to tracks, albums and artists on Last.fm’s website. To use, install Greasemonkey then add the script. You can then click the note icon to search in Spotify. I find this one really useful, it saves on typing and binds Last.fm and Spotify together nicely.
- Lastify - A plug-in that bolts onto the regular Spotify client and lets you Love, Ban, and Tag tracks back to Last.fm.
- Last.fm + Spotify + Find new albums – Newly updated, this webapp tells you what’s new in Spotify based on your Last.fm Top 50 artist favourites. It can also match against recommendations: a great way to discover new bands. Results are grouped by when they were added to Spotify and let you click both the album/single and artist. There’s also an RSS feed you can subscribe to, and the app now lets you filter to view only singles or albums as well as as “show tracks” dropdown for each album.
- Spotify – The best Spotify group on Last.fm, leader Faz regularly checks in and updates the Shoutbox, and there are always active discussions going on.
- Scrobble for Spotify – Originally set-up before Spotify had a scrobble feature, the Scrobble for Spotify group continues to attract new members.