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Music Recommendation Engines Compared

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the stuff-to-stick-in-your-ear dept.

126

An anonymous reader writes "The music recommendation/music discovery space seems to be heating up this year. Two big recent features on music recommendation engines: ExtremeTech has a round-up and reviews of eight leading services. Of the eight, Last.fm emerges as the winner: "Last.fm is by far the best out there, possessing a huge library of music, a great community, and a recommendation feature that will blow you away." Meanwhile, Pitchforkmedia.com just ran an in-depth feature about the hows and whys of music recommendation software, that tells the story going back to the '90s, and interviews people at Last.fm, Pandora, MusicIP, and the startup Echo Nest: '"Our hope is to answer every possible question about music that ever existed. If we can pull that off, then I think we're doing very well," says [Brian] Whitman.'"

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126 comments

I've tried lastfm and Pandora (5, Informative)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447571)

I've tried the two top recommended music recommend-ers: last.fm, and Pandora. Love them both.

I had to futz with the last.fm ergonomics, and find if I haven't used it in a while, I have to re-figure some of the stuff out. I find that annoying. But, it has great features, great recommendations, and features.

Pandora, I found to be easier to use, simpler and more elegant in design. I especially like the "sharing" of your personal stations, and love the "most popular" station feature. This is a great site, and a great experience.

For Pandora, though they've talked about fixing it, and I don't know where they are on this, I was disappointed to not be able to create a Classical Music station. That's a pretty big negative for me.

(Also, if you try Pandora, an odd behavior: if you click the "Minimize" button in the Pandora window (not the browser minimizer), it pops out into its own independent window. That's hardly "minimizing", though I find it convenient.)

And, while these may be free services, they've ended up costing me a small fortune. I've been exposed to so much cool music I'd not heard, I've ended up buying about 20 CDs I'd never have otherwise bought.

Re:I've tried lastfm and Pandora (2, Interesting)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447696)

I agree - Pandora's library doesn't seem to be as big as last.fm's, but the ease of use is second to none. I've found myself several times being captivated by music I never knew existed.

Re:I've tried lastfm and Pandora (2, Interesting)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447723)

What I've found with Pandora is that it seems to work best if you just tell Pandora what music you like and not what you dislike. I just seem to get better results that way.

Re:I've tried lastfm and Pandora (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448723)

That's been my experience also. The more I tell it what I don't like, the more it plays
stuff that I don't like. It doesn't make any sense.

Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (4, Interesting)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447731)

Pandora can get stuck in a rut when it doesn't understand why you listen to what you're listening to. I'm a big fan of Progressive Rock. Say you start with PFM's (Premiata Forneria Marconi) 'Celebration.' After a few songs it tends to pick some kind of Indy Rock. Progressive Rock may be grandiose, but that's what I like about it, that it continues to change during a piece of music. In essence it, by it's very nature seems to escape the definitions given to it. So I'm not sure that any of these engines will ever get that kind of music right. If I "Don't like' enough songs in a row it will go back for some classic prog, but if left alone it just keeps wandering away from it instead of leading me to new prog like Wobbler or Kenso.

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447996)

if you haven't already, please check out http://www.progarchives.com/ [progarchives.com]

Re: Progarchives (2, Informative)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448182)

Yeah http://www.progarchives.com/ [progarchives.com] is good! So are http://www.gepr.net/ [gepr.net] and http://www.gnosis2000.net/ [gnosis2000.net] . And if you have your ten league boots on (and lots and lots of energy) try http://www.nearfest.com/ [nearfest.com] . Rest up before the trip & plan a long recovery after. With two bands Friday at the Progressive Legends Showcase, and five (yes five) bands/artists both Saturday and Sunday it can really take a toll.

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (5, Interesting)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448133)

However, what I've found to be excellent about Pandora, apart from its uncanny ability to play relevant music based on the few clues I've given it, is that the service tells you *why* it's chosen a particular track if you click that button. It's a great insight into some features of the music you may not have consciously picked up on before.

It is true that if your taste is for a niche genre then it won't be too useful, but if you're in that position then you probably know better than any software what you ought to listen to next!

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448141)

I've noticed something similar with my "Aphex Twin" channel. It starts out with Aphex Twin and other IDM but then it gradually changes to trance.

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448154)

One of the things I like about Pandora (although it probably won't solve your problem) is that you can have it tell you why it chose a particular song. If you're really looking to outsmart it, you can take a look at those and try to finetune your preferences.

My one gripe is that it pulls multiple similar songs -- I have one station with all my likes tossed together, and it always plays fou or five dancehall songs followed by four or five hair metal songs followed by.... I suppose it's some sort of optimization to reduce the number of queries, or something like that.

By the way, does Pandora actually have advertising? I've never heard any. Have they not brought it online yet?

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (1)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448209)

Otter, you can edit your station and the songs that you've chosen to like or dislike (take a look at the dropdown menu.) You could also start from scratch and separate out your genres into different stations.

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448285)

Thanks! I know that (and have some more specific stations, as well) but I like to have one giant station because a) I like the variety and b) I'd like to give the algorithm as much to work with as possible to try to find new genres of interest. (Essentially, the opposite of the OP's desire.) Thanks, though!

Sparks (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448711)

Yeah, I've found that when I listen to Sparks, Pandora can't seem to suggest anything else that's remotely appealing. Either Sparks can't be explained by Pandora's categories, or there's nothing else like 'em.

Re:Stuck in the Indy Shuffle with Pandora (1)

rolofft (256054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449552)

My Pandora prog rock station works fine. Try basing your station on more than one band: Dream Theater, Angra, Rush, Cynic, Opeth, etc.

e.g. http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh1426048 [pandora.com]

Re:I've tried lastfm and Pandora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448164)

Pandora seems to have never heard of anyone I like. And yet they have sold millions of records: Ivan Rebroff, Frank Ifield, Rob Hubbard (king of 8-bit game music), Alpinkatzen. I guess it just has mainstream music like Korn and Arctic Monkeys.

Last.pm player too buggy (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448584)

I want to like last.fm, but the player hardly works for me. Half the time it can't connect to the server, if it does it crashes within an hour. Maybe it's just the Mac version, or something particular to my computer, but it is completely unusable for me.

In addition, the fact that you are required to install software, as opposed to Pandora which uses flash, creates an obstacle for many people who would like to use it at work, but need prior approval before installing applications.

Re:Last.pm player too buggy (1)

GalionTheElf (515869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448807)

I discovered last.fm a few days ago and love it so far. First thing I did though was look for an alternative to their player and I found this little gem [gimp.org] . It's a bunch of python scripts that acts as a streamer on your pc so you can then open it with anything that supports a streaming mp". Works great for me in Winamp, get the titles and everything.

Re:I've tried lastfm and Pandora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448611)

I _love_ Pandora.

What I don't love is that it uses 20% - 30% of my CPU just to play music. I believe that the problem is flash, but that is a big chunk of my system to dedicate to a radio station.

But do any of them... (-1, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447612)

But do any of them recommend 'stolen'?

After all, if the best tasting watermelon is one that's been snitched (to quote an old line), then isn't the best music a track that's been P2P'd? After all, one's expectations are much simpler for something you have 'acquired by other means'.

Re:But do any of them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447873)

You don't even deserve this answer, since it's been on slashdot 5 billion times, but there is a difference between stealing and copyright copyright infringement.
And since when the fuck does listening to music not already bought equal copyright infringement?! I don't know about last.fm, but I've been listening a lot to pandora stations lately. Strangely I've not suddenly felt the urge to download any of the albums. I've been quite content listening to what pandora comes up with.

You laugh, but that'd be the feature for me (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448015)

Not piratry, of course, but a creative-commons-only network so that -- for example -- any track you click "love this" on would be downloaded, stored somewhere, and you could build CDs etc right inside the app.

Re:You laugh, but that'd be the feature for me (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448181)

GarageBand will do that, with a bit of manual intervention.

Re:You laugh, but that'd be - irate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450393)

Try iRATE [wikipedia.org] . It uses only Creative-commons or similiary licensed music. It takes a while to get used to your tastes, but once it does it works great. Plus all the music is CC or similiar

But can you answer this one? (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447631)

Can you answer "Why do radio stations predominantly air really bad, overhyped crap nobody wants to hear?" without using the words "bribe" or any synonyms?

Or rather, will they actually recommend music? Or just the hypecrap?

Re:But can you answer this one? (3, Funny)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447856)

Results of your query:

We found no entries in our database for the artist 'hypecrap'. May we suggest Mariah Carey, Hoobastank, or Celine Dion?

Re:But can you answer this one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447924)

We found no entries in our database for the artist 'hypecrap'.

That's too bad. 'Hypecrap' is a cool name for a band.

Re:But can you answer this one? (4, Informative)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448032)

You obviously aren't familliar with the sites recommended, Pandora and Last.fm ... the trick with these services is that you decide what you listen to (for example, in Last.fm's case, you can listen to similar artists of, for example, Britney Spears - they will probably serve you a nice mixture of Christina, Destiny's Child, Shakira, etc... they do this based on data mining, which only works if you have a subscriber base as large as Last.fm... one point which Pandora seems to lack a bit (chicken or the egg problem)

And well, as far as I'm concerned, Last.fm's radio service is pretty high quality.. they offer you an option to subscribe to, among other things, get a guarantee for being able to listen to a radio station (if a server is full, a non-subscriber gets kicked off to make place for you)...

You should try it out... everyone who enjoys music recommendations and discovering new music will like these services...

Re:But can you answer this one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15449166)

Sorry, but Pandora doesn't make reccomendations based on data mining. They have employees hand tag their music library based on several different categories and then make the matches based off the tags.

Re:But can you answer this one? (1)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449387)

Sorry, but Pandora doesn't make reccomendations based on data mining. They have employees hand tag their music library based on several different categories and then make the matches based off the tags.

Ok, my bad.. I'm not familliar with Pandora but based on the article I assumed it worked similar to last.fm..

Re:But can you answer this one? (1)

nytmare (572906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450802)

Why do people type that way?

Re:But can you answer this one? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448542)

Can you answer "Why do radio stations predominantly air really bad, overhyped crap nobody wants to hear?" without using the words "bribe" or any synonyms?

Simple ... customer demand. To a lot of listeners, that's what they want to hear. To them, it's not bad, overhyped crap. They want to listen to top-40, or pop stations, and listen to what everyone else is listening to, and what's cool.

It's worse than them not knowing better, they really do believe that is the kind of music they like, and they really prefer to listen to it, and if you go too far outside of their comfort zone for music, they don't want to hear it.

Personally, I prefer my music to come from a little further off the beaten path, and most of what I listen to probably has seem little if any radio play outside of the college radio circuit.

This is where I'll give my usual plug for Six Degrees Records [sixdegreesrecords.com] and their catalog. I've discovered more cool music just by sampling the stuff I see from that label than I would have thought possible. (Literally, just scan the section for their distinctive packaging and give it a listen.) Indeed, entire genres of music have been opened up to me by them, because I grew up in a top-40 household and took a long time to discover different stuff! Six Degrees has completely redefined my tastes in music over the last several years.

YMMV of course. =)

jesus would cry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447635)

Screw all that... people are sooo fucking dumb

Re:jesus would cry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448421)

sooo true.. these people would cry you moron

tried and true (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447642)

and now new and improved freedb2.org

Merlin (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447649)

I don't know about a Music Recommendation Engine, but I know a Merlin in a Mustang sounds like music.

Re:Merlin (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447722)

That reminds me, got 'Battle of Britain' on the TiVo. My own way of celebrating the Spitfire's 70th. ;)

Re:Merlin (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447763)

I know a Merlin in a Mustang sounds like music.

How about two Merlins in a Ford Mustang? :)

I'm partial to a Hispano in a Jenny, or a Ferrari in a Dino 156 myself.

. . . answer every possible question about music that ever existed. . .

You hint at the fundamental question, don't you?

"What is music?"

KFG

Re:Merlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447948)

http://www.planesoffame.org/ [planesoffame.org]

By your standard this place has the greatest music collection ever. Not that I disagree.

people can be so dumb (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447667)

fuck all that

Level 42 is the answer... (1)

natophonic (103088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447677)

"Our hope is to answer every possible question about music that ever existed. If we can pull that off, then I think we're doing very well," says [Brian] Whitman.'"

Brian, repeat after me, "correctness before speed."

pitchfork + oink (1)

mycall (802802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447709)

The reason Pitchfork is popular is because of the TOP 50 set downloads on Oink and other bittorrent sites. They are always the most popular downloads and is how I first heard of Pitchfork. Who says bittorrent doesn't make anyone money.

Re:pitchfork + oink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448849)

or maybe pitchfork already had an established popularity and it just so happens many of its frequent visitors are also contributors to oink's.

Features, Features, Features (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15447740)

"When we tuned into "artist fan radio" for Johnny Cash, the first song that played was from Megadeth, a huge contrast from Cash."

That's just a feature. It obviously does that beacuse Megadeth kicks ass.

My review.. (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447749)

I suggest they rate these music recommendation services based on how rarely they recommend Brittany Spears, Jessica Simpson and Celine Dion. It'll be too soon if I don't hear one of them sing their guts out ever again.

An inverse metric would work nicely for ranking a video recommendation service.

Re:My review.. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447877)

It'll be too soon if I don't hear one of them sing their guts out ever again.

If they do, you won't have to.

KFG

I'll try one but... (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447756)

the first one to recommend a Brittany Spears or N'Sync song/album to me I'm blocking the IP address on my home network forever.

I love last.fm (1)

levell (538346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447762)

I've tried a few and so far I agree with the article - last.fm is the runaway winner. I have a few custom radio stations and have discovered a few bands that I've never have known about without it.

Independent music recommendation services? (5, Interesting)

'aspies' are retards (958036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447796)

Ok, so I've had it with the musicians who have sold their souls to the corporations. With the advert of the Internet, they don't need anyone else to publish and distribute their music to the world. So now I want to get my music from independent artists. The problem is: I know what kind of music I like, and I know which mainstream bands make this kind of music, but I don't have time to go listening to every indie artist to find out what they make.

What I'm looking for is a site where I can enter or select names of bands or songs that I like, and get independent music recommended to me. You like Alanis Morisette? Try Jen Pitch. That sort of thing. Does anybody know of such sites?

By the way: the example above is just an association I know from the top of my head; I'm not very much into the kind of music at all.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (3, Informative)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447805)

cdbaby [cdbaby.com] has a useful genre/category/mood browser.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (1)

dick pubes (963843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447849)

Allmusic [allmusic.com] is a good starting point for reccomendations. You can search an artist and it will give you similar artists along with artists who influenced that artists and artists who were influenced by that artist. It also is a good source for biographical and discography information.

The Yahoo subscription service also has a neat feature where you can queue up songs which are similar to a song/album/artist and listen to those songs, plus at $60 a year it is a pretty cheap way to find new music. I wouldn't reccomend it for building a music library due to the subscriptionyness of it though.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (3, Interesting)

llyenn (873664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448448)

Well...a kickass podcast that a lot of people don't know about is 75 Minutes [75minutes.com] . Great Indie music that runs the gamut from Jazz to Experimental... May not be exactly what you are looking for, but its a great start...

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (5, Informative)

joshsteadmon (632220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448485)

RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] will list non-RIAA albums that are similar to any given album you search for. I've used it a few times and it's always given me good results.

Re:RIAA Radar! (1)

memojuez (910304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448507)

Thank-you!!

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (1)

greyduk (966196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448842)

awesome... definitely mod this guy up ;)

Last.fm is nice (2, Informative)

SubRosa (976527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447836)

Any service that supports not only FreeBSD, but native amd64 binaries of their client deserves some major kudos. When I get tired of my regular playlists, I tune into last.fm for some fresh stuff, and it does a mostly decent job.

Slashdotted my Music (4, Funny)

lucifig (255388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447845)

I'm sitting here listening to Pandora at work and just as I notice a new Slashdot article, it craps out.

Curse you!

iTunes playlists (1)

yttrium (88756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447864)

It would be awesome if I could export a playlist from iTunes and upload it to a site and have it make recommendations based on that, rather than having to manually type in artists & songs. Anyone know of any services that accept that kind of input?

Re:iTunes playlists (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447906)

Yeah, the iTunes music store...

Bottom right corner of the iTunes interface has a button that opens the 'mini-store'. It does exactly what you describe, except you don't have to send them the playlist: they read it automatically.

Re:iTunes playlists (1)

yttrium (88756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447950)

Isn't that just based off the current selection? I'm talking about exporting 100 songs and have it give recommendations based on the collection, not the individual settings. Just because I like Keane doesn't mean I'm going to like Beck.... and that could be deduced by the other selections in the list...

Re:iTunes playlists (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448053)

I think it uses the currently selected playlist, but I didn't program it.

Re:iTunes playlists (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448050)

It would be awesome if I could export a playlist from iTunes and upload it to a site and have it make recommendations based on that, rather than having to manually type in artists & songs. Anyone know of any services that accept that kind of input?
Last.fm. Well, kind of. If you use the Audioscrobbler plugin, it send the details of the tracks you play in iTunes to the Last.fm servers to use when determining your personal station and when giving recommendations.

Re:iTunes playlists (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448237)

It would be awesome if I could export a playlist from iTunes and upload it to a site and have it make recommendations based on that, rather than having to manually type in artists & songs. Anyone know of any services that accept that kind of input?

Last.fm's recommendations are based on the music you listen to. You just install the audioscrobber plugin for your media player (or, in my case, enter your login info in amaroK), and it submits your listening habits to last.fm. Pretty cool IMO.

Re:iTunes playlists (2, Interesting)

adpowers (153922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448259)

Musicmobs [musicmobs.com] does something similar. I'm not sure about now, but before you were able to export your whole iTunes library (or just one playlist) to XML and upload it to Musicmobs to get recommendations.

I think they got rid of the direct upload feature because it was extremely slow (the iTunes XML file is huge, but can be highly compressed) and they now have a client - Mobster [musicmobs.com] - which will upload your stats. I'm not sure if Mobster allows you to upload just one playlist in place of your library. You can upload a playlist for all to see, but it doesn't (yet) give you recommendations on the playlist. It might be worth checking out, though.

Andrew

tunebounce.com (2, Interesting)

gnurb (632580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449979)

Yeah, I wanted this too, so me and a buddy created tunebounce.com [tunebounce.com] (free download for mac and pc)

Clinko (2, Interesting)

clinko (232501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447930)

I've been using Clinko for years. [clinko.com]

In fact, I wrote it :)

Re:Clinko (1)

hemna (205532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450028)

Clinko = windows only....Bzzzzzt.

Last.fm is opensource (2, Informative)

presentt (863462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448006)

I like using Last.fm because it's player is open-source and available for both Linux and WinXP. For me, that's critical, because I dualboot my PC between those two OSs, and have my music on a separate partition that's accessible by both.

I'm not sure if that's the case with the other services, but I've been happy with Last.fm

Hello from Last.fm (5, Informative)

captainclever (568610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448054)

So, seeing as I work at Last.fm (I founded audioscrobbler), I feel obliged to pimp my last.fm journal [www.last.fm] , which has some interesting stats (imo) about which media players are most popular, and some graphs of artist popularity. I intend to do a "google trends for music" interface after the next site update (see below).

The KDE player Amarok [kde.org] is getting increasingly popular, which is nice to see. I use it myself; the built in support means no plugin is required. The next version of amarok adds lots more last.fm integration too.

Coming up - we'll be running a beta test of a fairly major update to last.fm towards the end of june, and going live with the new version 1st July.

And a random stat: we currently recieve on average 104 submissions per second from audioscrobbler plugins.

Re:Hello from Last.fm (3, Informative)

levell (538346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448530)

If you're a Linux user but you prefer Gnome to KDE, Rhythmbox [gnome.org] also has AudioScrobbler integration and the ability to play last.fm streams is currently being worked on [gnome.org]

Re:Hello from Last.fm (1)

shdragon (1797) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448858)

Thanks for the info! More importantly, thanks for not astroturfing. :)

Re:Hello from Last.fm (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448865)

Leetness metric.
Other Players/iTunes and WMplayer

Re:Hello from Last.fm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15449462)

Your stats are nice, but I think they maybe a bit wobbley as the winamp plug-in is unreliable.

I reported that the Winamp plugin doesn't always detect a track being played in the Winamp plugin forum about 6 months ago, but this is still unfixed. For me this means that some days I can play litterally hundreds of tracks, and none of them get submitted. This is still an issue today, and other people see it too:

    http://www.last.fm/forum/3/_/111243 [www.last.fm]

I'm not sure what is going on with the winamp plugin, but it seems that there is a 1.1.10 'official' version, but also a 1.1.11 'DrO' version. Neither of them work fully, and because of this winamp users are probably going under represented, hence skewing your stats.

It's also unclear who is supporting the Winamp plugin, and where the latest source code (if available) can be found. It looks like DrO isn't able to do it anymore :(

http://nunzioweb.com/daz/index.html#Current%20News [nunzioweb.com]

Please make the plugin reliable!!!

Re:Hello from Last.fm (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449568)

Update? *drool, drool, drool*

Willing to leak any details about what sorts of things are coming? I gotta get all prepared on how to help beta test it, ya know. :)

(And will us auto-mods there get some more cool new abilities? I feel so... useless now with my orange symbol that only means I can play with artist images)

Biz Model..? (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448074)

Can someone explain to me wha is the business model of those services?

From what I see I download a player where I can play commercial music of the sort I like for free, with CD quality and no ads...

There are Google Ads on the site, but I can just not go on the site and play free music forever... The player doesn't seem to contain ad/spy ware.

Where's the "catch" :)?

Shhh (2, Insightful)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448193)

Don't talk so loud, somebody will notice.

Re:Biz Model..? (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448874)

I'm not sure about the others, but I know that Pandora [pandora.com] has side advertisements on their website, and there is a limited number of songs you can skip.

Re:Biz Model..? (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449569)

Can't speak for all of them, but on Pandora it's really, really easy to buy the CD associated with the currently-playing song. Really easy. I figure they must get a piece of each CD sold through them.

Anyone else amused? (1)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448183)

we're reading an article recommending a service that does the best job recommending music to us. Bit o' irony? I'm waiting for an article analysing this article's recommendation.

Re:Anyone else amused? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448349)

We obviously need a recommendation service recommendation service. Patent pending!

Last.fm vs Pandora (4, Interesting)

Supersonic1425 (903823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448247)

I'll start by saying that I'm a huge fan of Last.fm, and have been for years. I'm addicted to the place, and my music collection would be nothing without it. While Last.fm does have a feature where artists are automatically recommended to you, I rarely use it. It's the social aspect of Last.fm that sets it apart. The best way of getting recommendations is just simply asking for them [www.last.fm] .

I've used Pandora a few times before, and was always disappointed with what it recomended. Results are mixed to say the least—it clearly works better for some types of music than others—and some of the recommendations can be, quite frankly, laughable.

Re:Last.fm vs Pandora (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448357)

you have awesome taste in music. get "second life syndrome" by riverside.

Am I oldschool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448372)

Am I the only oldschool one left? I generally go to GEMM [gemm.com] , buy vinyl or foreign pressed CDs, then convert it to MP3. I don't need these sites to recommend anything, I already know what I like!

Gnoosic (1)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448425)

Don't forget the simpler Gnoosic [gnoosic.com] , the music section of the Global Network of Dreams.

mod doWn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448616)

Every Last Question (4, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448628)

>Our hope is to answer every possible question about music that ever existed. If we can pull that off, then I think we're doing very well,

What is the brand of guitar string that you can hear break in the mono lp version of "Help Me, Rhonda"?

Sorry (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448788)

That is a hardware issue. The question is out of scope.

MusicIP MusicMagicMixer, Launchcast (2, Interesting)

klausboop (322537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448682)

I am a huge fan of the MusicIP MusicMagicMixer application discussed in the pitchforkmedia article. MusicIP does a fantastic job of helping me navigate my own collection since I ripped it into a couple hundred gigs of files. Coupled with SlimServer, I feel like I have the best of everything: Offline, I use MusicIP to create mixes from my own collection and transfer them to my portable player or make a CD. Online, I can stream my own collection with SlimServer playing MusicIP mixes, and when I want to discover new stuff I drop over to Pandora or Last.FM. I was excited to read about something that would have the intelligence to group Heartbreaker with Living Loving Maid, though, which MusicMagicMixer cannot do. That's righteous. But I'd want to be able to turn it off...sometimes it's fun to have Heartbreaker cut into something else. Imagine it being TOO intelligent. It's one thing to have Overture always lead into Temples of Syrinx...it's another to have it always play both discs from The Wall any time it picks Another Brick In The Wall part 2. I agree with the extremetech article about Launchcast, too. Before Pandora and Last.FM, it is where I went online to discover new music. While I still like their ratings system the best of all and feel it is the most intuitive (rate the song and/or the artist and/or the album to shape your station), I think the other services implement moods much better and generally have a more positive user experience.

Last.fm "the best"? (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448758)

I must be missing something here...I entered "The Cure", and came up with a list of just about every popular '80s mainstream band, from Led Zeppelin to the Stones to David Bowie (even the Doors made an appearance). What's so innovative here?

Suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15448760)

While I haven't tried Last.fm, I have tried Pandora. I made a station based on Rammstein and it played both Nickelback and the Mighty Might Bosstones.

Somehow I just don't see the angry german in either of those suggestions.

PF ST (1)

guyjr (180613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448930)

Pitchfork??? Are those whiney snobs even relevant anymore?

Music Reco Downloads? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448957)

Can anybody point me to a service that features the recommendation power of these great sites, but also provides an easily accessible link that allows me to instantly start downloading the song in the background? I don't mind if it is free music as I'm sure there are no legit services out there that would provide this functionality with copyrighted music.

My biggest problem is that I love discovering new music but when I find something I like I always have to write it down and then go hunting for it on Soul Seek later, and I haven't purchased music since Napster, so please don't suggest any paid services.

Re:Music Reco Downloads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15449559)

Don't know about one that lets you download in the background, but Pandora lets you add any song in its playlist to your favourites. You can then look at your favourites list at your leisure.

This would at least save you from having to keep a list of everythin good that you hear on Pandora.

Aside: Why have you not bought music since Napster started? Isn't there anything out there that you like?

iRATE (2, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449065)

Anyone else using iRATE [irateradio.com] ? For some reason it isn't listed in the article, but I've been using it for years and it's the best way I've found to (legally) get free tracks from the web and get new ones you like based on how you've rated previous ones.

I partially disagree with the conclusion. (1)

CSMastermind (847625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449444)

I like last.fm. That said. I use Yahoo!'s unlimited music service. That's proablly because it's the first one I'd been exposed to. But I have a clarification to make. Yahoo! doesn't only let you rate songs, artists, genres and albums from 1 to 5. They let you rate them from 1 to 100. This allows you so much better control when you're telling the music engine what you like it's not funny. It's slow to start but once you rate more and more, the radio station gets better and better. I assume when they said that the songs played were too main stream they didn't actually take time to rate anything (or were using the crappy 1 to 5 scales). When you first start to use the service there's a lot of mainstream artists played until you input what you like. Then the selections start getting better and better. I'd say it's a mix of 65/45 with artists you've rated high and artists they think you'll like. I'd recommend the service to anyone, it's cheap and it's a great investment. I can go to any internet accessable computer and in minutes be listening to the songs that I like.

Re:I partially disagree with the conclusion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450245)

You know that scientific studies have shown that the largest scale you can easily rate something on is 5±2? There's no way a 1-100 scale makes any difference, except psychologically.

Here's another one (1)

gnurb (632580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15449934)

A difference about this one is that it looks at the songs you've already played--not like last.fm which only looks at songs as you play them. Hence the recommendations are generated alot faster ---instant satisfaction...well assuming it works for you

tunebounce.com [tunebounce.com]

plus 3, Troll;) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450574)

guest and never get What provides the 3onducted at MIT your spare time

Why Last.fm and others fail the truly long tail (2, Interesting)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451189)

Last.fm is on the right track, but incomplete. Registered users submit the tracks they play, and the algorithm considers how many plays each artist got. But it doesn't look at a per-song level, just artists. There's no way to tell it which songs you dislike.

This is bad because many of us have bought an album and realized we only liked a few tracks. Yet the big fans of that artist like all the songs, or different ones. Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity got lots of airplay, but the rest of the album is much slower and disco-y. Consequently, Last.fm is highly unlikely to recommend the artist and of course that song to listeners who missed it six years ago.

Last.fm thinks I should like lots of Radiohead, Coldplay, and The White Stripes because other users who listen to the same artists I do have also listened to those bands a lot. Well I only like a few songs from the first two and really dislike the last band. Too much whining in the vocals. If only Last.fm let me tell it the songs I like and the ones I don't. Then it could find users who also dislike the same music as I. Consequently, it would recommend just songs I'm probably going to like; certain Ska songs by Reel Big Fish and others, certain Rock/Swing by The Cherry Poppin' Daddies and The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Then I don't have to skip through albums getting annoyed with how much of them I don't like because I'm not a huge Ska or Swing fan.

When I listen to Best of albums by Garth Brooks and Clint Black, along with select Shania Twain, and the Black Dog soundtrack, I should get song recommendations for Travis Tritt that only include the few tracks I'll probably like.

If Last.fm could increase their computing power per user by about 30x, I think it could be recommending all kinds of obscure hits and tracks that users would never think of otherwise and human community members couldn't think of either. After all, I like a bunch of hip-hop and techno too. In fact I have extremely varied musical interests, but probably most people do and they're too stuck in a few genres because there's too much chaff among the wheat to branch out and find the select songs they'll enjoy.
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