When I first discovered Last.fm it was a revolutionary thing – all that music, available to listen to for free? It was a turning point for my listening habits. Most of the time, I would select a radio station – pop or indie or 80s – and listen away, occasionally skipping the tracks that weren’t to my taste. Being able to heart the best songs, track what I’d listened to previously, and share the music with others was a great thing.
We made a Sidepodcast group, as well, and although I haven’t had much input over there, I know that it’s fun to swap music tips, follow who’s listening to what, and analyse the charts. With some of our own podcast files up there, it’s fun to see my name next to the Rolling Stones, or whoever is popular at the time.
I’d heard about Spotify in a variety of places, and knew that it was the next big thing, but I hadn’t got round to downloading it. My dad had been urging me to do so, and eventually took matters into his own hands when he was visiting. (This is the only way to get things done!)
Having seen the amount of music available on Spotify, I was astounded at all the random albums you could listen to, and the fact that you can make playlists and save your searches.
So, having used both, it’s time to compare and contrast. I prefer the radio functionality on Last.fm, as I find it impossible to use on Spotify. I like the fact that you can listen to a whole album in one go on Spotify, but it’s hard to find new music, or recommendations for things to listen to. Last.fm has a great social aspect, and it’s really easy to move from one artist to another. I think overall I prefer Last.fm, but will continue to use both because they can complement each other. I won’t be paying the fee for Spotify, though, because it’s an extortionate price just to get rid of the ads, and I don’t listen to music enough to justify the expense.
I asked for some opinions on Twitter, and had some great responses. Firstly, the other half wasn’t particularly impressed that Spotify requires a download, which is a very good point. Last.fm can go with you wherever you are, and you can login on anything. There are also lots of apps for iPhone and Android, which I make use of on my G1.
“Never really used Last.fm for new music. I prefer recommendations from mates. Spotify lets me listen to a select artist and get a full opinion.”
Pat likes the social aspect of Last.fm though:
“LFM is a lot more social (if you want it to be). I use it more for tracking my stats than anything else. Last.fm recommendations were more accurate for me because it was based on my past history. Maybe I needed to give Spotify time.”
Jim Thomlinson suggested that other social sites do the job better than LFM, and he prefers the clean interface of Spotify. It is very easy to use, I’ll give it that. Alianora is sticking to LFM because she enjoys the new and different music suggestions, but Chris Evans said: “Of all the things Last.fm has recommended, there’s only one band I’ve really got into. Not a very good success rate, really.”
Finally, I think Dierdre sums it up best:
“Both Last.fm and Spotify can be used together. Last.fm radio throws up interesting new tracks, then full albums on Spotify.”
Thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions, and I’d love to hear more. It’s really interesting to compare the two, as they’re aiming to do the same thing, but in very different ways.