Last.fm is my favoriate web app. There’s nothing else on the Internet that comes close.
This thought occurred to me a few weeks back, but it wasn’t until I explained last.fm to a group of publishers at the Stanford Publishing on the Web course this week that it became a conscious truth.
I mentioned it in the context of the importance of user data in today’s distributed and networked media environment and contrasted it with Pandora. Pandora’s service is driven by vast meta data about content. It’s a very robust service because of the depth of data they work with. But content data without user data is not necessarily a defensible position anymore.
I also happened to stumble on one of the coolest mashups I’ve seen in a while called All Crazy Style via the Yahoo! Mashup Gallery the day of the presentation which I then added into the talk last minute. All Crazy Style simply pulls my last.fm usage data (with my permission) and matches it against my Upcoming.org location (again, with permission) and then shows me where and when the bands I tend to listen to most are playing in my area.
Wow. Love it.
I didn’t know that RJD2 is playing at The Independent in San Francisco December 3rd…and since none of my friends are fans I never would have found out otherwise. And there’s no way an advertisement for such a small event would make it to me through the media I consume.
Additionally, I probably wouldn’t have gone looking through Upcoming.org to find any of these listings, because I’m lazy. But my implicit behavior provides enough data so that I don’t have to explicitly track down when my favorite bands are playing. It also provides enough data to essentially recommend shows that I might like.
I was already a fan of last.fm but I didn’t realize they opened up their APIs this way. Now I’m never going to leave. In fact, I want every music-playing device I own to include the audioscrobbler tracking tool which tracks my listening behavior. I want it to own all my listening behavior, and I want mashups to pull that data to do interesting things for me.
If only I could take last.fm with me offline somehow.
UPDATE: Businessweek coves last.fm this week:
With 15 million unique users a month, 150,000 band biographies, and an amazing 65 million songs listed in its database, Last.FM has attracted the attention of big money.
I hope that’s true for their sake. This is a startup that deserves a big break. But I hope an acquisition doesn’t ruin the service for me.