last.fm is an internet radio unlike any other. Whats more, its not just an internet radio,
it is also a community of music lovers. It's principle is quite simple.
It all builds around two things: playing music and tagging music.
There are two ways of playing music, one is by using your favorite
music player (mine's amaroK),
which submits each song you play towards last.fm by use of special last.fm plugin. Each song submitted adds to your music profile.
last.fm keeps all kinds of interesting statistics about the music you played.
It shows recent tracks, weekly top artists, Overall top artists, and top tracks.
You can always find more statistics on the separate personal charts page.
Another way of playing music is by using the last.fm music player. This is a small computer program that
allows you to play mp3 music streaming from the last.fm website. There are a number of different ways to
choose what music to play. A fun one is Neighbour Radio which plays music people with simular
taste to you like. Another nice one is Simular Artist Radio which allows you explore music simular
to an artist you like. Whats fun about the last.fm player is that you can skip songs you don't like, or
even ban songs you hate!
Tagging is marking songs or albums or artists with a special marker word. A typical tag would be to mark a rock
song with the tag "rock". However it is also possible to use a more specific tag like "space rock", or use both
of those. last.fm uses tags extensively to cathegorize music. A song that has been tagged alot with the
tag "space rock" will probably be space rock. This of course only works if the users of last.fm tag decently, but
it seems to be quite okay. Tags are fun ways to explore new music.
While last.fm is free, it is also possible to pay a small fee to get a subscription. There are some nice bonusses
for subscribers: Personal Tag Radio: a radio of songs you (or someone else) tagged with a certain tag
instead of everyone, Personal Radio: this one is really good, a radio reflecting your taste, yet it keeps
introducing new music, and Loved Tracks Radio: this plays only songs you marked "LOVE" in the last.fm player.
A nice way to play only those songs you really like.
last.fm is also a community of music lovers. There are forums for all kinds of music, or just for fun.
Everybody can write journals about music they like/love/..., and others can comment on these journals.
Everywhere it's possible to link to artists, albums or songs with special last.fm links. It also works the other
way around, as an album page can have a link to a journal someone wrote about it recently.
You will have to try this for yourself, however I have great fun listening to this radio, and using the very nice website.
It really is a new way of listening to music!