How dull would our days be without a little music? The 9 to 5 (or 9 to 9) time span would be really tough to handle without the soothing sound of your favorite band, wouldn't it? When working at the computer, I would say music is highly required.
You can choose to listen to music on your portable player (meaning iPod), you could play some of your computer stored, legally bought music (not to upset mighty RIAA), or listen to some online radio stations. (There is, of course, the alternative of you singing a cheerful song to lighten - or light-up the spirits - but there's a serious risk you'll get fired, so it's best to stick with the known artists).
Today, I'll talk about a piece of software I use daily at the office, called Last.fm. You see, I have no music stored on my office computer and my portable player is far from great, so I found myself in the situation of listening to online radios. The radio experience I've initiated was about to abruptly end right before one of my colleagues came across Last.fm.
There are certain risks one stands when listening to the radio. It's unlikely you'll love all the tracks that are played, there will surely be lots of tracks you hate, and you'll definitely be annoyed by the never ending commercials. So, what's there to be done? Well, take my advice and use Last.fm.
To use Last.fm, you need to set up a free account on the Last.fm website (less than a minute), download the software and enjoy your music. Last.fm will play just the things you'll want to listen. It dynamically learns your music preferences and brings you the music that you will probably like. Love the track? Let the software know, and you'll hear it as often as possible. Hate it? Just ban the track, and you'll be spared the suffering, even if it's this week no.1 hit. Skip the songs you don't want
to ban, but you're just not in the mood for.
You are allowed to put up your user profile, invite friends to listen to your music, recommend tracks. This "social music revolution" is trying to actually learn who you are and what you like, and has always a nice surprise prepared, just for you. The music is organized by genres and artists, and when you search for an artist, the software will also recommend a bunch of similar artists.
The program understands what you want to listen to and personalizes everything. You can make a list of friends and listen to what they're listening to, or you can access what others with similar tastes (neighbours) listen to.
Music can be tagged. This is probably how they manage to cluster your music preferences, by adding metadata about the artist, title, genre, decade and so on. You can search your music by artist, or by tag. You can access your most recent searches in History.
The automatic track logging is called by those at Last.fm "scrobbling" and it's by scrobbling that Last.fm customizes so well your radio experience. Your played tracks can be used on the web, as forum signatures. You can scrobble local music files as well.
When you listen to a track, the software will display information about it, including a short history of the artist/band, some images, buying options, tags for the track and similar artists. You may choose not to download this information.
There is truly much to say about Last.fm, I've just underlined the things I found to be essential for this radio player. I should also say the program is easy to download and install, easy to use, and the interface is clean and friendly. I found it to be a specially user-oriented software and it's been a great user experience so far.The Good
I think Last.fm managed to take the online radio-listening experience a step further. The software will try (with considerable success) to suit all your needs and desires, and even throw in a little pleasant surprise once in a while. I'm truly enjoying it, it's very friendly and easy to use and brings personalized radio to new levels.The Bad
No, this section will not be empty. Though there is no bad aspect that I can name about Last.fm, I do have some improvement suggestions, to make it even more lovable. The software could also provide with song lyrics, it shouldn't be exceptionally difficult and I see this as a great addition. Also, I would suggest instant messaging capabilities. I realize that chatting is not what Last.fm is about, but still, it would be nice.The Truth
Bottom line, if you're to listen to the radio, Last.fm is the way to go. I've grown found of it and it's a software I constantly use. Last.fm is the way to get the best out of online radio.These are the screenshots: