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Facebook Music’s Biggest Loser: Last.fm

From: http://gizmodo.com/5844461/facebook-musics-biggest-loser-lastfm

These days, almost everyone has a FaceBook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or some other form of social network profile. Within these networks, people are becoming more and more interconnected, and attached to their profiles. Keeping up with events in friend’s lives is easier than ever because of the constant updates that are visible through places such as FaceBook’s ‘Newsfeed’, and constant notifications.

Along with the explosion of social network activity, mobile phones have become some of the most indispensable objects in people’s daily lives. Whether you are a Blackberry, iPhone, or Android person, ‘apps’ are an integral part of how people use their phones. People are now able to bring their social networks with them on the go, and stay connected even when they are far away from their computers.

New social networks are also bringing together people that may have been less likely to connect in the past, as well as strengthening the ‘edges’ between people that are already friends. I have noticed this trend happening in the music area. Sites like Last.fm allow people to create a profile as well as add ‘friends’ who have similar music tastes. It tracks the songs you listen to on your computer and puts together charts of your top songs, and artists. The charts are organized by weekly, monthly, and yearly time segments. This gives a great overall picture of someone’s music tastes and trends in their listening. Last.fm is its own network and as of now has not been too closely integrated into the other major social networks, which in a way helps bring together otherwise unrelated people. This adds another dimension to people’s already established networks, but is also a drawback to the service. Similar to FaceBook’s suggested friends area, Last.fm recommends people to you based on the level of compatibility of your music tastes. Like other networks, Last.fm also has a ‘app‘ for mobile phones.

The recent rise of the music program Spotify has added yet another way of strengthening connections between people, and is almost like a more integrated version of Last.fm. It holds your entire iTunes collection, as well as allowing you to search for any songs and listen to them using an internet connection, sort of like the Pandora service. As an added feature, Spotify links with Last.fm accounts and also integrates with FaceBook. This allows people to see what their FaceBook friends are listening to, as well as recommend music for them to listen to. All of these features seem to take what made Last.fm innovative, and turn it into a full fledged and much better alternative. In this age of such fast paced changes, and constant innovation in areas such as social media and the networks between people, failing to keep up and push the envelope can leave you behind. Spotify’s choice to connect itself with FaceBook as well as Last.fm has made Last.fm seem clearly behind, and lackluster in features compared to its main competitors. FaceBook is now able to ‘scrobble‘ (what Last.fm does by recording listening information), and keep track of listening habits across multiple sources, which in some ways is making Last.fm obsolete. Spotify is able to contain multiple networks within its program, and of course, has a mobile ‘app’ which is becoming a must these days.

It seems like it is no longer effective to just be a one dimensional networking service on the internet. Integrating with other networks, and expanding the capabilities of your network is key to remaining relevant and retaining users. Incorporating mobile use is also key, as people spend a lot of time away from their computers, and feel an increasing need to stay connected to people.

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