Sunday, February 17, 2008

Last.fm - tagging your musical life

Last.fm is a web 2.0-themed site which tracks the digital music you've been listening to over the course of the past day, week, and life of your account.  The site offers up a desktop application to communicate with the website every time you play a complete track.  But where it becomes interesting is in the extensibility of the data you're providing.
On the surface, the site provides a clean interface for other people (your friends, people who read your blog, strangers) to see and sample what music you've been into lately.  The site also syndicates what you've been listening to in an rss feed, which means you're able to plug that data into other sites like facebook, or also into your own websites or web projects.  Also, the site features a friend feature, which not only lets you link to people with similar tastes, but also compares your "musical compatibility" with another user on the site.  The concept seems really intriguing:  What if one day, some company like eHarmony decided to add a Last.fm integration that tested compatibility based on similarity of music tastes?  I mean, I could probably live with someone loving a band like Fall Out Boy, but what if my library was littered with artists like Lupe Fiasco, Saul Williams, Common and Kanye West, and they set me up with someone who thought the end-all, be-all of rap was Eminem?  Disastrous!
The site is an interesting example of what I'd term a back-end data-driven service, where the frontend site is certainly worthwhile, but the backend data being collected is where the real value and substance is.  
In the interest of driving more attention, you can check out what i've been listening to at http://www.last.fm/user/awinder.  And hey, if you're already on the site, sign in on the comments and lets get a feeling for how musically connected our class alone is!

1 comment:

Relaxedguy said...

I recently heard from http://asoundmatch.com/ , which is trying to do something similar, although the matching gurus who comment on my blog tend to disagree with most of the algorithms these sites use, at least in terms of "real" compatibility.

I did some work with Matchmine.com recently. They will have some sort of music/friend mashup going soon. Ok, enough urls but you sounded interested.

Dave Evans
Online Dating Insider
Onlinedatingpost.com