Friday, January 05, 2007

Are you a Scrobbler?

I imagine myself something of an early adopter when it comes to new technology, with the possible exception of music, where I'm sometimes late to the party. For example, I was a very early user of Apple's iTunes software, but my wife was given an iPod years ago, back when they were truly new and cool, and combined we've used it a total of an hour or two. Nor do I have an interest in ringtones, but that may have more to do with my age than my musical proclivities. is different. It's not a service I was immediately drawn to after one or two uses, the way I was with, say, Youtube. After installing the software six months ago or more I fired it up perhaps once per week, listened to a few tunes, skipped a few, and closed the application. And that's pretty much how I still use it. Once or twice per week, usually while at work, I'm in a scrobbling frame of mind, and I've found scrobbling to be an excellent way to stumble upon new music and new artists, much of which one would never otherwise encounter. ('s Help page states, "Scrobbling a song means that when you listen to it, the name of the song is sent to and added to your music profile.... Millions of songs are scrobbled every day. This data helps to organise and recommend music to people; we use it to create personalised radio stations, and a lot more besides.")

The UI is straightforward: Choose a genre or search for an artist and builds play lists based on your listening history and that of other users. You do not control the play list other than having the ability to skip a song you don't like, as I'm now doing with Alice in Chains "Grind" (I like some of this group's work but not this particular song). Presumably, if you listen to most or all of the song it is added to your profile and may affect your future play lists. It's that easy, and I happened upon the group Snow Patrol, a decent find, while scrobbling long before I heard them on FM or Satellite radio. You do encounter a number of dogs, as well -- I'm listenting to Bloodhound Gang's "Yummy Down on This" as I type and am hovering over the Skip button. Give it a try, discover some new music, achieve self-actualization, or simply tune out for a while.


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