Sunday, February 27, 2005


Behind the curve as ever, I've just started using Audioscrobbler, a service which aims to build a detailed profile of your music listening habits, which my early-adopter colleagues have been using since it launched a few years back. Setting yourself up is as easy as registering on their website and downloading the plug-in for your preferred media player(s). I've got it setup to track my listening in both iTunes and Windows Media Player, but not Napster as there's currently no plug-in available.

Once you're set up, the plug-in automatically reports the details of every track you play to the Audioscrobbler server which then begins to build a Musical Profile which you can access via the website (here's my profile). On its simplest level it provides a visual representation (bar chart) of what tracks and artists you listen to the most. Whilst briefly diverting, this doesn't add much to the Play Count information displayed in iTunes and just quantifies what you already have a pretty good sense of (although the presence of some artists near the top of my list left me demanding a recount and vowing never to leave my iTunes unattended in shuffle mode again...)

Looking for similar musical howlers amongst your friends' Top Artists list also proves temporarily diverting (right up until you remember they're most likely doing the same to you but laughing longer and harder). Where it gets significantly more interesting, however, is with the introduction of 'Musical Neighbours' (presumably so-called because of their musical proximity to you, not a likelihood that you'll hardly ever speak to them and resent their muffled sex noises coming through your ceiling at 2am). Your Neighbours are updated by Audioscrobbler "several times a week" and offer the promise of introducing you to gems rated by musically like-minded souls, which are then packaged up into your very own personalised online radio station , courtesy of Audioscrobbler's sister site,

I've only been using the service for a few days but can see that it's likely to be set as one of my homepage tabs in Firefox before long. I just wish it could somehow take account of my offline listening so when I docked my iPod it would upload the tracks I listened to whilst on the move. Moon on a stick, I tell you...

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