I recently discovered a website called last.fm in which you set up a profile and download a software that monitors your itunes (or any other media player you choose) activity. A small red icon appears at the bottom right of your screen while you listen to music. After listening to a track, it is 'scrobbled' (basically posted on your profile) and after a while, your profile gets statistics such as 'Top artists' and 'Top songs'. All activitiy of music listening is recorded - and artists are reccomended based on what you listen to. You are also given reccomended videos to watch and free personalized podcasts. Like Facebook and Myspace, you are also able to join specialized user created groups and add friends (giving you the ability to write on eachothers page and see what they are listen to) If you click it while listening to muisc, a variety of information will be displayed, such as a: biography of the artist you are currently listening to, "Tags" given to the artist (e.g. classic rock, blues, pop, 80s, ect...), and also similar artists. I find that the tags and similar artists tend be extremely accurate and helpful in finding new music. Anyone can tag a song/artist - but the ones that show up first are the ones that the artist/song is most tagged with. If you click on the artist name in the biography - you will be given a much more in depth information and also a discography, tour dates and a comment box at the bottom of each page. A few songs can also be listened to on their page. An example of a band page (they all follow the same formula): http://www.last.fm/music/The+Beatles. If you want a taste of what Last.fm is like, explore this page. Unlike myspace, each individual page is not clunked up with fancy backgrounds that take forever to load and glittery animations.
The best part 0f Last.fm is the free radio station. You have two options for the radio station - inputting an artist or a tag. If you input an artist, songs from that artist and similar artists are played, and if you put in tags (even very specific tags!), songs that are tagged with it are played. And its not just a few songs, it has a huge variety of music to play in the station. You can listen as long as you want - for free, with no lag - even with the slow connection here. The songs you listen to on the radio station are also scrobbled on to your profile. In general I think that last.fm is an awesome website, and I believe that it is FAR superior to (and will eventually surpass and become much more popular than) Myspace's music system.
Talking about radio stations - most people dont know that UMW has a radio station - you can stream it from wmwc.umw.edu - and be sure to tune in to my radio show on wedensdays from 6-7 pm.
**EDIT** I just recently discovered that when you plug your ipod into your computer, it automatically scrobbles the tracks you listen to on your ipod.
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