I’m a big fan of the big two music discovery services – Pandora and LastFM. I like each one for different reasons – Pandora serves music to you based on the way its in-house musos categorise each track. LastFM works on analysing what music you play and tag. I’ve tended to favour Pandora until recently, mainly because of its tight integration with my Squeezebox. However, although I’m probably way behind the curve, I made 2 excellent discoveries over the weekend which has much improved my music listening experience.
First up was PandoraFM. Clearly I was not alone in wanting some way of getting Pandora to "talk" to LastFM – ie to have my music selections on Pandora "scrobbled" by LastFM. So hats off to Gabek Kangas for his great little Web 2.0 mash up – by logging into PandoraFM, all my selections are logged by LastFM – you can also use all the usual LastFM functions such as tagging, "loving" and "banning". Very neat, very clever.
And a great example of the speed with which such solutions can now be developed by anyone who has the motivation and patience to meet a need. I gather Pandora actually opened up the API to him in order to make it work more efficiently – another good example of open-minded behaviour.
Next, I wondered whether it might be possible to play my LastFM stations via my Squeezebox – and guess what, you can! Step forward James Craig who has written a v. nice SlimServer plug-in that does just that. Again, because the SlimServer software is built on open source, it means a whole raft of new enhancements can be built by people like James and shared with the world. The plug-in list for Squeezebox seems to grow by the day. I now can’t live without the AlienBBC plug-in which allows you to play all of the BBC’s archived audio content via your hi-fi. Bit like time-shifting for radio.
Perhaps some bright person could develop a LastFM style site for press releases – ie journalists could "scroble" which releases they read and then create a profile which would accurately reflect their interests and tastes?