13 February 2009

Internet and music - a perfect match

As do a lot of young people nowadays, I don't use physical CDs when I listen to music. Playing music always means playing MP3-files or streaming music from the Internet. The most common way to play music is using my iPod, both when commuting to work, and at work. Sometimes I use iTunes on the pc.

Lately I have fallen in love with Spotify, an amazing music streaming service which has a huge music library, and you can stream it exactly as you wish (full freedom in picking songs, skipping songs and so on). It has two subscription models, one free with adverts playing at times, and one paid with no ads.

What impresses me the most about Spotify is the client you install on your pc (available both for Mac and Windows). This client looks familiar for anyone using iTunes. The impressive part though, is that it is as responsive as iTunes as well. Find a song, press play, and it starts playing instantly. Skip to the middle of the song and it happens instantly. No noticable buffering. You'll forget you're streaming from the Internet and not playing your MP3s.

iPod, iTunes and Spotify share one thing, they are all able to "scrobble" to last.fm, another great Internet music service. Scrobbling means uploading information about what you're listening to last.fm. By telling last.fm what you listen to, it can show you what you have listened to lately, which songs and artists you listen to the most, and more. However, the real value appears when last.fm compares what you listen too with what other users listen to, and find users sharing your music taste. Based on this it gives recommendations on music you might like, but you don't have already. A great way to discover new music.

I do scrobble from both my iPod, iTunes and Spotify. This covers 99% percent of the music I listen too, meaning that I tell last.fm about pretty much all the music I listen too. My last.fm profile is public, so anyone can see what I've listened to. It feels a bit strange letting everyone know every song I listen too, but then again, openness is a part of the Web 2.0 revolution, which I'm a big fan of.

If you want to check you what I listen to, look here: www.last.fm/user/arakvaag. Or, you can just look below and see which albums I play the most. If you want more info on a specific album, click on the album cover and you'll be brought to last.fm's page for it :)





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