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  • How I Last.fm

    5. Sep. 2012, 13:25

    A collection of thoughts that I've been meaning to get down for some time now; collectively representing my approach to Last.fm and music in general.


    Despite evidence to the contrary, Last.fm is not a race. In all but the most obscure cases, being the top listener of some track, album or artist proves only that you are a giant douche. Scrobbling for the sake of increasing some arbitrary playcount is stupid and pointless.

    I tend to listen to music in fits and starts, then go on long hiatuses where I'll scrobble nothing. I treat music as a hobby. I collect music that I like and then fuss over it; tagging and collating, researching and preening. For a few months. Then one of my other hobbies takes over and I go to work on that instead. I am project driven, and music is one project of many.

    I generally listen to albums. The vast majority of music is written in a shared timeframe and released in an album container, encapsulating the artist and the work at that time. To my mind, the album is the artwork. A crafted set of tracks presented as a cohesive, related, sequenced group. It's how the artist delivered the work and how I choose to listen to it. As a consequence I generally avoid and dislike any form of label- or profit-driven compilation (especially "Various Artist" titles!), and most live releases as well.

    I don't govern what I scrobble in order to keep my charts clean. I'll listen to just about anything, regardless of some perceived level of "coolness". The only time I'll remove something from my library is if it was accidentally tagged fatally wrong, such as switched artist & track names that can sometimes happen using YouScrobbler, for example.

    I scrobble from as many different sources that I can. Still a good part of my listening history is not captured because some can't be captured, like the ancient player in my car. My listening habits there tend to be quite different too; for example I listened to Amputechture on repeat in one car for over a year without changing the disc. That album never gets old.

    Given all this, what's on show here at Last.fm is a slice of my listening history. Despite the nomenclature, this is not my library, not even close. It's not even a good representation of the music I like or like most. What's here is, quite simply, my scrobbling history, for better or worse.

    It's fun to look at various stats and to make comparisons with friends. It's fun to measure your sonic e-peen against others and marvel at how far you've come. But I don't read too much into it. It's just a big list of some of the songs I've listened to lately. An eroded slice of my listening career. And the same goes for everyone else.