I’ve been a huge fan of last.fm since I started using it back in 2006 (for those who don’t know, it’s a social music website that logs every song you listen to, and connects you with people of similar taste, and suggests other music that you might like), but one feature that I’ve often overlooked is the stand-alone last.fm player.
On windows it’s the main tool that scrobbles your tracks as you listen to them in iTunes or Windows Media Player, but you can also type an artists name, or a specific tag, and listen to a stream of similar music; something I’ve been using a lost this Christmas. It’s been great to fire up the player on a laptop and listen to music tagged with ‘acoustic’ while I cook dinner, or type in an artist like ‘John Mayer‘ and find similar artists.
A side-effect of this is that I’ve also discovered 7digital, an online music store that offers DRM[?] free music (last.fm direct you to 7digital if you want to buy an album electronically) which is perfect now that I’m using Linux. There’s also a Linux version of the stand-alone player, and other options like built in support for scrobbling and listening to last.fm streams in Amarok.
One issue that I have experienced since I switched to Linux, is the downside to DRM. I’ve purchased quite a bit of music over the past few years from the iTunes Music Store, which is copy protected and won’t play outside of an authorised copy of iTunes, which is a problem if you’re using Linux and can’t actually run iTunes. Thankfully it’s a pretty common issue and thanks to the Hymn Project I’ve been able to get all of my purchased music into a Linux friendly format!