As December draws closer, Spotify listeners are excited to find out which artists and songs have made their yearly top five lists on the app’s “Wrapped” feature.
Many are left asking themselves these questions throughout the other eleven months, but what if there was a way to check your “Spotify Wrapped” whenever you wanted? That’s where ‘Last.fm’ comes in to assist you in finding that out.
Last.fm is a specialized music database structured like a social media site, and it’s entirely dedicated to automatically cataloguing your listening history. It isn’t just using Spotify though; it also works for Apple Music and Google Play. With some accessibility tweaks, it can even connect to third-party apps like YouTube, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.
Created by Englishman, Richard Jones, for his college’s computer science thesis in 2002, ‘AutoScrobbler’ began as a rudimentary way to save data of the songs users would listen to. Users could view one anothers’ public pages to see how compatible their music tastes were, and maybe discover some new artists they might enjoy.
The following year, ‘Last.fm’ was started as a German and Austrian collaborative, online radio station. Here, users could leave positive or negative comments on individual tracks shared online, and algorithms sorted out who would prefer what from there.
In 2005, the two platforms merged, creating the singular Last.fm app as we now know it with features from both.
There’s a variety of features that allow users to inject more of their personality and tastes into their pages. Top artists are organized into mosaic-like charts on users’ front pages to be viewed by visitors. The songs listened to, called “scrobbles”, are also catalogued in list form and organized in the website’s reporting system.
The site even recommends online “neighbors” based on how many of the same artists pop up in their listening histories.
Like any other social media, users can interact with neighbors to see who can discover the most new artists, genres, and albums each week. These listening reports are almost like tournaments, where music discovery turns into a competition.
If there’s one specific song that you have a tendency to play over and over, Last.fm gives you the ability to set it as an “obsession” at the top of your page banner.
The original comment system from the radio website version remains in the form of “shoutboxes”, which can be used for everything from artists to individual tracks to the Last.fm users themselves.
Lots of music fans tend to favor the website for discovery because it’s more akin to word-of-mouth, where artists aren’t directly sponsored by industries or record labels. When it comes to music, Last.fm is by fans and for fans.
There’s also a premium version of the app, one that costs $30.00 a year, allowing users to review their monthly listening reports. Though, it’s really only necessary for the most obsessive of music fans. Otherwise, users can check their weekly reports and make sure everything is in order wherever they want for no extra cost.
Spotify Wrapped won’t be out for another few weeks, but according to Last.fm, I already know most of my stats. I’ve discovered 514 unique artists this year, with Gojira and Peter Gabriel nearly tied for the spot of most played artist. With 28 plays, Thank You Scientist’s “Mr. Invisible” is my top song for 2021.
The best part is, once users join, the listening data will remain on the site and build on top of itself. Rather than having one Wrapped every December, Last.fm creates one massive, multi-year collection of music-listening history for users to see how their tastes change.
This is the perfect app for people who are desperate for new music and want to branch out to find new artists. It’s also fun to show others how dedicated you can be to the artists you truly love and listen to constantly.
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