I have been a user of Last.FM since 2005. Last.FM has watched – or heard – me listen to over 149,000 songs.
I grimace at the idea of using services like Pandora since they do not scrobble – a scrobble is when a track is recorded on your Last.FM profile. In fact, the only service I use that doesn’t scrobble is SoundCloud (shameless plug for Owl Pharaoh by Travi$ Scott the hottest mixtape out right now.)
Music is an emotional part of who you are – and this corpus of data, for better or for worse, catalogues me.
And if you stop to ponder the possibilities of this data, I think it could be fascinating.
For example, at a macro scale, did you know that playback of “God Save The Queen” by the Six Pistols soared five-fold on the wedding day of Prince William and Kate Middleton?
But what about me – the micro scale? That is the opportunity that I believe Last.Fm has missed – entirely – why does Pandora exist? Last.FM has had a rabid community of hundreds of thousands of passionate loyal music fans – with so much data for each – for years: there was an incredible window for new products to be deployed to such an audience.
Spotify is a success for no other reason than the fact it’s free music / an accessible music subscription. The product is very weak in fact, surely Last.FM had connections with record labels to have been able to do what Spotify does. For a long time they skirted what Spotify did – long before Spotify existed.
If nothing else, why isn’t Last.FM the “Facebook Connect” of music. Songkick, Rap Genius, Pandora, rdio, Spotify. They are five billion dollar companies, all of which – IMHO – would be substantially improved if my first user experience was personalized not by who my friends were, but what kind of music I want! (some of these companies do integrate with Last.FM, and I am correct.)
The pace of innovation stalled many years ago, their ambition appeared to vanish.
It even took until 2011 for Last.FM to offer the ability to find your friends, a feature that had been discussed in their feedback and ideas forum since 2008 the thread had 30 pages!
I don’t know anyone that would disagree that Last.FM is in the doldrums. Hell, the managing director of Last.FM has 6,358 scrobbles – and has been a user since just 2008.
Someone should acquire Last.FM from CBS and do something with it. It’s amusing that Silicon Valley is so interested in making every behaviour “social” and yet the social aspect of music is actually greatly missed, the one aspect of music that would not require record deals…