"Do more with Last.fm"
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Do more with Last.fm
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>> Donald Bell: Streaming Internet radio sites like Pandora and Slacker provide a simple and direct way to connect people with the music they love, but for serious music fans, the site that blows them all away is Last.FM. Of course, you'll have to take my opinion with a grain of salt since Lacena [phonetic] and Last.FM are properties of CBS. But regardless, if you're new to Last.FM, or just a casual fan, I've got some tips on taking your experience to the next level. At first glance, Last.FM works just like anything other streaming music service. The home page gives you a little text box where you input your favorite artists, and with just a few clicks, you're listening to a mix of their songs along with similar bands. But what Last.FM does better than all the rest is that it tracks your listening history and the songs you favor, and then connects you with similar listeners or what Last.FM calls "neighbors". Now, once you've got the basics down, there are three main ways to push your experience with Last.FM. You can improve the data that you put in, you can do more with the data that you get out, and you can listen to Last.FM on more stuff. The first technique makes finding ways to make Last.FM's record of your listening habits as accurate as possible. If all you ever do with Last.FM is stream easy listening music at work, it's going to have a really distorted view of your taste in music. Ideally, you want your profile page to reflect all the music you listen to. This means every song on your iPod, every tune on your computer, or even the music you hear on other sites. The trick to getting all your music tracked by Last.FM is to download their Squabbler [phonetic] application. This program monitors your song plays on popular programs like iTunes, WinAmp, and Windows Media Player and updates your Last.FM profile automatically. In iTunes, it'll even keep track of song plays from your iPod or your iPhone. If you listen to a lot of music from sites other than Last.FM, try searching the Web to see if anyone's created a mashup site that combines Last.FM's open API with the other site that you're using. For example, Pandora listeners can use a site called Last Pandora to get their Pandora tracks counted on Last.FM. Some sites like Height Machine [phonetic] have Last.FM integration built right in if you snoop around in the account settings. OK. So that covers getting more data into Last.FM. Right off the bat, all that listening data is going to allow Last.FM to give you better song recommendations and help tailor your personal radio stations, but there's tons more you can do with this stuff. If you head over to build.last.fm, you can find hundreds of ways to do something cool with your Last.FM profile data. There are album cover screensavers, standalone desktop radio players, plug ins for blogs and social networks, an option for showing off your listening trends using all kinds of crazy charts. But one of my favorite uses for my Last.FM stats is right here on my profile page. If you've ever joined a social network or some site that gives you a profile page asking about your tastes in music, this feature lets you copy and paste all of your top artists out of Last.FM in one shot. There's also a quick link right next to it where you can embed your top artists onto sites like Facebook, Bebo, Blogger, MySpace, and others. Alright. So you're hooked on Last.FM. You're obsessed with Squabbling all your songs. Your Last.FM radio stations have been cultivated to play only awesome music. At some point, you're going to want to break Last.FM out of your computer. Fortunately, Last.FM has some great apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android phones, and if you have a speaker dock for one of those devices, you can use that same mobile app to tune in Last.FM around your home or office. Finally, if a single-speaker system isn't enough, both Sonus [phonetic] and Logitech offer multi-room music systems that can blanket every room of your home with music from Last.FM. So there you go. Those are some tips for digging deeper into Last.FM. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.
[ Music ]
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