In the "I think everyone knows about this already" file...
I've kind of noticed that my posts here tend to sort of alternate between ones that are way too hugely long, and ones that are like, maybe a paragraph. So, I guess I'm due for a short one again, heh! (Speaking of which -- is there a way with Blogger to do "read more" lines? I looked in the help files, and there was one thing, but it seemed a bit over-my-head on how to implement it -- but that might be useful, since, apparently, it is impossible for me to shut up once I get going!)
So, anyway, though, it looks like AudioScrobbler has signups going again -- I've been a member of that site for a while now, and it's really fun. Or, at least, it is to me, but then again, I love messing with numbers and stuff. (I mean, I'm not great at math, but I love fiddling around with statistics and formulas and whatnot and seeing how they change.)
Basically, you just get a little plugin that sits and monitors what your media player of choice plays (it doesn't distinguish between MP3s, DRMed formats or actual CDs -- in their documentation, they basically say that they don't WANT to know if you've been a naughty spud and downloaded something, or if you're exclusively listening to CDs you've bought new at full-retail price or what; it's a way to protect users), and compiles stats, like your 50 favorite bands based on most-listened to stats, or your most-played songs, or whatnot. (It can be fun to sometimes spike your stats by listening to one band nigh-exclusively for a while, say.)
There're a couple problems -- sometimes the service goes down and won't process your songs for a while, and the merge-script for combining different variations of artist names isn't quite complete yet (for example, on my lists, I've got two different entries for the Fastbacks, because some of my mp3 tags were listed as "The Fastbacks" and other as just "Fastbacks". Audioscrobbler knows that both of those should just be "Fastbacks", and lists them as such... unfortunately, it hasn't quite hit the stage where it knows that it should roll those two different "Fastbacks" entries into one. But, hey, it's a free service -- and the really neat thing hasn't come up yet.
See, while being able to look at what your friends are listening to (and, you know, keeping an eye out for potential guilty pleasures to rib them about -- as an aside, this won't work for me: I'm unabashed in my love of, say, t.A.T.u. or the Carpenters!) is definitely neat; there's another big thing with Audioscrobbler. Mainly, their sister site, Last.FM. Last.FM takes people's Audioscrobbler stats and puts together a personal streaming station based on the tracks you've played and songs it thinks you might like. Last.FM's also actually done this legally, working out the royalty payments and rights issues with a lot of labels and artists; not everything, of course, but a pretty good chunk. For example, looking at my page right now, they don't have any Fastbacks, MC Chris or They Might Be Giants (though that last one surprises me, what with TMBG being relatively early to embrace the mp3 format), but they do have songs by the Magnetic Fields, XTC, or the Mountain Goats -- if a band or song has a solid underline, they've got it; a dashed underline means they're missing it. So, basically folks can listen in to the type of thing I'm listening to, if they're so inclined. (Audioscrobbler profile pages also have a small last.FM link in the corner.) Since I'm a big fan of sharing music and turning people on to stuff they might not have heard otherwise, I dig the hell out of this idea.
It's a cool idea, anyway. And anything that combines messing with useless statistics and sharing music I'm into is a good thing by my eyes.
(Man, I went all long again...)
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