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 Post subject: The last.fm user guide!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, '12, 2:16 am 
This seemed to be the best place to post my last.fm user guide. It is about music, and I want the guide to be publicly viewable, not members only. I've also stickied this topic.

Also, link to the Fringes of Algo group on last.fm.

What is last.fm
It's a social networking site built around music. You sign up for an account (the basic site is free, but you can pay for extra services), listen to music, upload your music listening data, and the site will generate charts based on this data, as well as display recently listened/currently listening tracks on your main profile page. This is called 'scrobbling'. And here are my charts, where you can see my music listening habits by artist and play count. You can also narrow it down and see weekly snapshots of what music I listen to. You will see metal. And lots of it.

Once you have all this, the site will do other things for you, but we'll get to that later. For now, let's focus on how you scrobble, as without that, the site won't do anything for you.

Scrobbling
This is the crux of last.fm. And how you do it is fairly simply. All it requires is your computer's music player (for example, Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, etc.) and the last.fm's scrobbling software. Below is a screenshot showing the location of the download link on the site, it's at the bottom of every page of the site...I use a Mac, and so I just want to be sure that the link I just provided doesn't show up the Mac version of the software. So here's the location.
Image

Once you've downloaded it, the software installer will show up in whatever location your internet downloads go. Open it, follow the installer instructions. Once it's installed, open it, and it should prompt you to put in your last.fm log in information. Do so...and that's it! You're done, the scrobbler is now ready to scrobble. All you have to do now is open up your music software and play some music. You may want to wait about 10-15 minutes after installing the scrobbler, though, as I know at least with some softwares, it can read and upload music listening history and immediately give you starting charts.

If you have an iPod or mp3 player...
The scrobbler can also recognize mp3 players and ipods. Just plug your player into your computer, and the scrobbler should recognize it, but you should also give it a few minutes for your music player to update. After that, everytime you sync your player with your computer, the scrobbler will read what you played on your iPod or mp3 player, and scrobble that as well. It's not always perfect with that, but last.fm does provide support forums to ask questions and report bugs.

Other ways to scrobble
Some music players have last.fm integrated right in. Spotify is one example. Players such as this will generally just ask you for your login information, and that's it.

There are also many mobile apps that scrobble. I won't go into these. If anyone has a mobile device, you can just browse your mobile app store and find what works for you. I presently use Music+ on my iPhone, but if/when I upgrade my Spotify subscription to premium, I may use that instead.

Okay, you're scrobbling. Now what?
Once the site has an idea of your music taste, this is when it gives back. I'll go over the ways!

Tagging
It's probably a good idea to tag, as the tags you use may help improve your recommendations (more later). To tag, just go to an artist page, by clicking on a link to their page...any artist name in your recently played list is a link to the artist page, and other links are everywhere. At the top, underneath the artist name, is a link for tagging.
Image
Click it, and type your tags into the text box. The site may fill it in for you based on the most popular tags for the artist. You can also tag specific songs in this way.

Recommended music
If you're like me, you like finding new music to enjoy. Once last.fm has an idea of what you like, it'll keep a list of artist it thinks you'll like, and shows you similar artists you've already scrobbled - each artist page has a streaming radio station you can listen to if you want to listen a bit (and anything you listen to on last.fm radio is, naturally, scrobbled to your profile). It'll also keep a list of free (and legal!) mp3s you can download based on your music taste. Lastly, it'll list new releases you might be interested in. You can view your recommendations by clicking on the dropdown arrow next to your username at the top of any of the site's pages, like so.
Image

From there, you can browse your artists, free mp3s and new releases.

The dropdown menu is also a way to view your music library, your friends list, and also upcoming events last.fm thinks you will like. Last.fm, for note, is how I discovered the Sabaton event I'm attending on May 5th.

Taste-o-meter
This is just a fun thing. Once you have charts, every time you visit another user's profile, underneath their information will be a comparison of your music taste. It'll give you an overall score (very low, low, medium, high, very high, super) and then list artists you have in common.

Radio
The site will give you streaming radio. You can do unlimited streaming in most parts of the world. Think of it like personalized Pandora. You get three library radios, and they all will scrobble to your profile:
Library: Music you've already scrobbled.
Recommended: Music last.fm recommends to you. This will include new artists, and artists in your library but songs by them that are not.
Mix: A mix of your library and recommendations.

Your library, and also your radio stations, can all be accessed by clicking in various links present in this screenshot. Just about everything in this screenshot could be clicked on and go to a new page. I've circled the radio link:
Image

On the page that follows, you can select which radio station you want to listen to. It'll also list your most recent tracks, your recent stations, your stations, and also your friend and neighborhood radio.

In addition, all groups also get a radio station, based on the aggregate listening habits of the group members. So that means we, the members of Fringes of Algo, could have a Fringes of Algo radio station! How awesome would that be? 8)

The social aspect
Like other social networking sites, you can make friends. Every user has a shoutbox, which basically acts like a comments section. You can just type in the textbox at the bottom of everyone's page and leave a comment on their page. You can also send private messages, and send people friend requests.

The site also keeps a list of other users who have similar music taste to you. These are your neighbors, and you can view your neighbors in the sidebar on the left side of your main profile page. The sidebar also lets you view your journal (I've never used this), your tags, your friends list, groups you've joined, your charts and library, and events. Just explore around and have fun. Chat with people, make friends, join groups, etc. And then if they might be interested, provide them with the link to our group. ;)

Groups
Users can also form groups. We have a group, linked at the top of this post. There's tons of user groups, so search around and find some you might like. You can make friends that way, recommend music to each other, and maybe get some new members here at the Fringes.

Additional things
If you look at my profile, you'll see all kinds of things on the right side - the obscurometer, the last.fm normalizer, a list of band logos, tag cloud, artist cloud and other things. These are generated by scripts that other people have written. You can get your own versions of these things by clicking on the image in my profile, and then just following the directions on the page that the link takes you too.

On a user's front page, you can also customize the artists it displays, how your recently listened list looks, your most played list, and all that looks. Just simply click on the settings icon above the field you want to mess with.

Otherwise...just treat it like any other site! Explore around, say hi to people, click on links, etc. That's the best way to learn it once you know how to scrobble.

I think that's basically it for how to use the site at a basic level! However, any questions, comments, clarifications, further instructions, etc., please post in this thread! I will be happy to answer as best as I can. You can PM me as well, but I'd prefer any further questions be posted in this thread. That way everyone can benefit from the Q&A.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Fri Apr 27, '12, 12:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, '12, 10:54 am 
Truly impressive ! Thanks a lot for all the work ! I'll read it this evening after my work session ! See you on last.fm.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, '12, 12:25 pm 
You are all welcome. Hope it helps you start scrobbling and then helps you with the more basic functions of the site. :)


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Fri Apr 27, '12, 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, '12, 3:57 am 
Great work on this guide, CW. It is very helpful. I wasn't quite sure how this scrobbling stuff worked at first, but it seems pretty easy now.

Caged Wolf wrote:I use a Mac, and so I just want to be sure that the link I just provided doesn't show up the Mac version of the software. So here's the location.


It shows the Windows version for me, so I think it'll select the appropriate software automatically. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, '12, 4:21 am 
Perfect! Good to hear that. I just figured I could provide a link and show the link location and then everyone would be set for sure.

And thanks for the compliment. I'm happy to help. I sort of enjoyed writing the guide. :)


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Sat Apr 28, '12, 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, '12, 9:55 am 
See you all on last.fm !:)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, '12, 1:51 pm 
I'm sure we will. After all, like this forum, last.fm and our group there will only work for us if we put in a bit of effort to make it work. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, '12, 1:59 pm 
Interesting guide, CW, and thanks for all the work and effort you put in to doing it for us. I've read it over once but got busy doing some other things and am just now getting back to it. I'm going to read it over again and see if I can get it to work for me later today when I have a bit more time to explore with it, etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, '12, 5:19 am 
Hope this guide is/was useful to anyone. Please let me know if it was!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, '12, 8:54 pm 
Yes, very useful guide indeed. I have decided not to do the scrobbling for right now, but if and when I do I will be sure to refer back to this guide for help. All I want to do right now is listen to the music there and I spent quite a bit of time doing that last night. Loved it!!! This may very well be my new favorite site!!! :)

Thanks again for all your help and hard work with the guide, CW! Very much appreciated!! :)


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