Track Your Music Listening History With LastFM

by JG

After writing my earlier post on the SelfControl app, I started thinking of other apps for my Mac that are useful. Below is my dock, filled only with the apps I use daily.

Obviously there’s Microsoft Office (so much better than the default Mac apps: Pages, Numbers, etc.) and Google Chrome, in my opinion (and that of many others) the best browser on the market. Once I upgraded to Lion,I’ve really begun to take advantage of the default iCal and Mail, applications. The Lion editions seem a lot crisper and more useful, helping me (almost) stay organized. Aside from the basics, (and SelfControl), only two other apps stand out as must downloads for Mac users like myself. The first is VLC Media Player, because sometimes QuickTime isn’t so perfect. Download VLC by clicking here, and use it to watch all of your non-MPG4 videos. You’re welcome.

Another cool app I’ve grown to love is LastFM. Your first step is to go to the app’s website and register an account. Once you do that, you download the “Scrobbler”. From this point forward, your musical taste is essentially broadcast to the public, or at least anyone with some time on their hands. My most played artists overall (since I registered in March 2008) doesn’t look too embarrassing at a glance…

… but if you search deep enough, you’ll find Kristen Chenoweth is my 56th most played artist. I really liked Wicked when I saw it, sue me.

If you’re comfortable with your music tastes being publicized, and you should be, then you need to start using LastFM. Even if you’re not, there are privacy settings where you can control who can find and view your profile. The first time you download it, it will automatically sync with your current iTunes. Since the last time you re-formatted your computer, all stats will already be tracked, and from that point forward, launching iTunes will automatically launch the scrobbler.

Using the program can help you track whatever songs, artists, or albums you’re listening to the most in a number of given time periods. For example, in the last three months, my listens have leaned HEAVILY on one artist: Childish Gambino.

I usually listen to the same playlists on heavy rotation, so this actually makes a little sense. In the last few days since I got Mac Miller’s new album and B.o.B.’s new mixtape, my listens have basically been the 30 or so songs from those albums over and over. Sometimes I’ll go on shuffle, but my listening really goes through phases. Enough about me though, let’s talk about you.

Go download LastFM right now. There’s really no reason not to. If you’re not comfortable with your tastes being publicized, adjust your profile settings, use a vague username (unlike mine), and put a picture that’s not one of you. I’m sure you’ll be very interested in what you find out about yourself, especially if it’s been a while since you re-formatted your computer. If you do that often (i’ve probably done it at least three times in the last few months alone), no need to worry, because your LastFM stats stay up, no matter how many times you reset your stats or delete/re-add music.

If you followed my advice and downloaded, what interesting things have you found out about yourself? Sound off in the comments below.