Last.Fm is really cool…

I love all the new sites that are coming out… one that a friend recently introduced me to is called Last.Fm.

Now is very hard to describe but basically through special plugins in media players your computer sends them information on what music you listen to all this is then stripped of any “private” information and then grouped together with a the information gathered from thousands of other people. They then do lots of fancy stuff on all the data and finally come out with info that says “People who like Katie Melua will also like KT Tunstall”. By signing up for your own account at you can tell them what you like which means that they’ll then be able to give you better more accurate information on other artists you may like.

What makes all this really cool though is that they can then stream to your computer a selection of songs that you may like. I’ve been fooling around with this today and it works pretty well, my biggest problem has been getting the client to work on Linux. I’ve found that a better working client than Last.Fm’s is called Last-Exit (You really should checkout the website it’s very cool and an original design.)

Instead of messing around building from source (that’s so last year…) you can get packages from to use the packages just add:
deb dapper/
To your /etc/apt/sources.list and then do a

apt-get install last-exit

If you’re running a new install of Ubuntu or a recently upgraded one you may have trouble getting the sound to work, this is because of Ubuntu’s no proprietry formats policy. You can fix this problem by installing the mp3 codecs for gstreamer by doing a

apt-get install gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3

This also has the nice side effect of getting mp3’s to work in Rhythmbox. Once you’ve done all this you just need to start Last-Exit and login with your Last.Fm details and you can start listening to music that you *might* like.

So far it’s been about 50% acurate not everything it says is similar to Katie Melua I would consider similar but it is better than listening to the same music over and over.

The downsides? Well because you’re streaming audio you need a decent internet connection (works fine on my 192kbps ADSL line) and because this is South Africa and bandwidth cost a fortune you may end up going through your silly 3gb cap quickly.