October 31, 2006

Last.fm vs Pandora.com

There's a few new features over at Last.fm. One major one is the addition of event calenders for artists. They've also got a new flash player for playing tracks, and have finally enabled free track downloading.

Another cool feature is the "Taste-o-meter":

"Every user page now shows a tastometer box, which tells you at a glance how musically compatible you are with the profile you are viewing. We've had this feature on trial in Japan for a while now, and thought it was time for the whole world to enjoy it."

I have to say I've been making good use of (and wasting good time with) Last.fm lately. Aside from building listening habit charts, I've also been using it to categorize a lot of the music I listen to through tags like 'seen live', 'friends', 'favorite' or 'new interest'.

I've also been checking out Pandora which creates radio stations based on your favourite artists. It's pretty interesting how they have explanations of why they choose each song (eg. "Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features electric rock instrumentation, punk influences, extensive vamping, minor key tonality and an instrumental arrangement.")

It also has tour info for some of the artists, something Last.fm just started doing.

That's about all it does though, and since Last.fm already does that and more, I'm going to have to stay with the latter. Another setback of Pandora is you're only allowed to skip a certain amount of songs on a station each hour because of something to do with their music licenses.

Along with artist similarity radio, Last.fm also has tag radio. So you can enter a tag into its player like 'math rock', 'metalcore', 'dark folk' or 'stupid' and it will play songs and artists with those tags.

Last.fm also has more obscure artists in its directory. Basically, if anyone's listened to a band, a page will be created for it where you can go and see other people who are fans. Even if an artist isn't on the site and you listen to a (properly tagged) song of theirs, a page for them will be created right away.

Overall, if you're looking to set up a quick internet radio station based on an artist you like, either Pandora or Last.fm is great, but Last.fm kicks ass for offering so much more.

1 comment:

Jonny Chance said...

Last.fm does rule, but I MUCH prefer Pandora's radio.

My top neighbour's taste-o-meter is only one-third full.