Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Save the Last dance!

Last.Image via is a UK-based Internet radio and music community website, founded in 2002. It claims over 21 million active users based in more than 200 countries.

Using a music recommendation system known as "Audioscrobbler," builds a detailed profile of each user's musical taste by recording details of all the songs the user listens to, either on the streamed radio stations or on the user's computer or some portable music devices. This information is transferred to's database ("scrobbled") via a plugin installed into the user's music player. The profile data is displayed on a personal web page. The site offers numerous social networking features and can recommend and play artists similar to the user's favourites. ~ Wikipedia is an excellent site, it has replaced listening to the radio for me with the exception of Jo Whiley and when I am travelling. That said I have it set up with my iTunes/iPod so when I am on route to work/home tracks I listen to are Scrobbled (see Audioscrobbler above) and when synced updated to the site. Anyway I have got to thinking lately about how my 'best of' would have changed over the last few years, had I signed up to or an equivalent to compile a list of all the music that I listen to or is recommended to populate the proposed soundtrack to my life.

For instance to start things off back in the late nineties when I first started tuning my music preferences it was all about Oasis, The Beatles and the Stone Roses. The arrogance of Liam Gallagher was the ingredient I needed to get me through my adolescence. I listened to their music religiously, especially Oasis and had I been Scrobbling my music back then I feel that they would have built up an insurmountable lead that would have seen them at the top for many years!

Just as I had established my taste in Indie music I was to be led into a completely new direction. As we moved into the 21st century I moved into experimental music in the form of Drum and Bass and Garage music. Listening to DJ's spinning records and MC's enhancing the crowd participation is what it became all about. This would have been difficult to track in any form as mostly it was event tapes I would listen to and play whilst listening to someone yelling over the track about how society wasn't treating them fairly and that we were all owed something. Although I have fond memories of this music not a lot became mainstream which is probably a good thing as there were a few colourful characters.

The following chapter would see Dre's prodigy Eminem and the variants that followed on from him occupy my music interest. I think largely due to Eminem's association with his daughters mother because at the time I felt it related to my path due to my explosive breakup. Eminem is a talented guy and obviously not all of his songs are about the problems he experienced with Kim. I also enjoyed a few other Hip Hop artists but Eminem is the stand out that I would say got the most airplay.

Next up with my personal problems behind me I found myself going full circle, Indie music was there to embrace me and I fell in love with the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner for me tells it exactly how it is and is hugely talented and as I stated earlier with Oasis being the band that would have built up an insurmountable lead then the Arctic's were to be the band to climb that mountain and conquer all before them. As you can see from my most played overall at the moment their tracks have a heavy presence. Having only joined in February it paints a clear picture of my currently listened to artists. I would be interested to see how it all compared over the years as I have been on a journey that isn't all that clear. There have been many other bands/artists that I have enjoyed for instance The Verve, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco and lately The Enemy but the bands/artists I have rubber stamped are those I feel left the biggest impression.

It's a shame that hasn't been a part of my music interaction longer but what is a certainty is that it's going to definitely be for the long term. Which is why I am excited about the redesign which is currently in beta and available to subscribers. ReadWriteWeb have posted up some comments on the design and how it's received mixed reviews so far. That's expected though and to be fair it's better to know about any user dissatisfaction during beta. Other features also in the pipeline are as follows:
  • Fully visible library - your entire music profile is made visible, "down to every last artist and track."
  • Real-time charts - every track you scrobble gets added to all of your charts, instantly.
  • Activity feeds
  • An improved music player
  • Improved sharing
  • Podcasts
My conclusion is that if you enjoy listening to and discovering new music then is the place to do that. My post is about my journey and how music has been entwined through my experiences and adventures. Maybe if I had discovered this earlier I wouldn't have gone on to get tattoo's over my body of all of my favourite artists. Then again would it have painted the picture better for me to get the ultimate tribute, I say this as currently I don't have the Arctic Monkeys staring back at me from the mirror, yet!