Ok, so I’ve decided to get on the last.fm boat. Why do you ask did it take me so long? Well, when I started using it again I remembered why. Simply, I don’t think I like it. I am a big fan of the Pandora project and prefer that to almost any online music application. However, I was intrigued by last.fm’s use of social integration (tagging, comments, groups, wiki) and, well, there is a widget I can use with my WordPress blog.
As a new user last.fm frustrates me, I get lost within the framework and cannot find my way back to for example “my favorites”. I “heart” songs and I can’t find where to locate them again, other than the strange “playlist” feature. Furthermore the playlist feature is not a list of “my favorites” but rather a list of “some” songs I was able to add to yet another type of list. I consider myself a very savvy Web 2.0 user and if I am having a problem navigating this puppy, I can only imagine whats happening with other folks.
Lets start at the begging with a simple “tasks and scenarios”>
I am going to search for my favorite artist, in this case its “The Fall“. After searching I am taken to a page (seen below) where I can read about the artist, see how many times it’s been “scrobbled” (will get to that later) and listen to the song “Idiot Joy Showland”. First, I would like to “favorite” this artist, however I can’t seem to do that. Frustrating and I’m not interesting in recommending them to a friend right now.
Also, this is not my favorite “Fall” song, so I want to select a different song. My favorite song “Spoilt Victorian Child” is way down the list. Once selected I receive an error that “this track is not available”, however I can add it to my playlist. This is kind of confusing, but I do it anyway. I realize that I must pick a song that has a play button icon next to it, if I am ever going to hear anything. As I look down, because I don’t like the four songs that are listed, I realize that my big long list of songs is now gone! Where did it go? Do I now have to use the back button?
Dear me, I had to use the back button! I decide to pick from the four songs that last.fm has suggested I play, this however does not take me to another screen like my other selections did, which is nice. I soon realize that the “visit profile” is how I can get back to the band page after making a song selection to the main page again. This is a very ambiguous feature as “visit profile” could have meant “my” profile. I looks as though last.fm was taking the Facebook approach and by simply showing me a picture of my band and the “view profile” link, I would automatically understand that to mean the artists profile. Oh, ok…
Since last.fm is either not offering me the songs I like or only live versions of songs I like, I decide to go back to the main last.fm page (seen below) and re-start my experience. It is here that I find my “recently loved”. However, again, this feature is not expandable and I can’t figure out how to get to the big list of my “loved” songs. I love looking at what I love, I think most people do or the feature would not exist. I’ve also now found two things that interest me the “scrobble” application and a link that was rather hidden called “play last.fm radio”. Ohhh, now I might be getting somewhere.
After selecting “play last.fm radio and typing in another one of my favorite “The Wedding Present”. However, I am taken to a page (seen below) with the “Wedding Present” cutely sitting on a rock wall, but no “Wedding Present”. Instead I get the Charlatans, great band, I even have some of their records, but this is NOT the “Wedding Present”. I get that last.fm is assessing my taste in the “Wedding Present” and playing other similar artists for me, however, this is really not what I was looking for…and there is no “back” icon, so I guess I am stuck listening to what they throw at me. There is also no way for me to access the playlist and see what’s already been played.
Where is the about page? or the FAQ page? I see HELP, but I don’t feel like I really need “HELP”, I would like a long description of what the service is and what they offer, how to use it etc. I think “HELP” is ambiguous and I think just like men won’t pull over to ask directions most people don’t click HELP.
I am not happy and I am now pretty frustrated with too many links, too many tabbed pages, and not enough results for my input. I think now I am going to go now an install the “scrobble” feature and hope it gets better. More on this in Pt. 2, coming soon!
P.S. As I am signing off lastfm, as if it knows I’m leaving in frustration, tries to win me back by playing one of my favorite Stone Roses songs “Made of Stone”. I really want to use this web app! I want to share this wonderful song with you guys, with a handy little link. However, I guess that will have to wait!
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Metadata and Taxonomies are my thing. I spend an awful lot of time drinking coffee and having existential dilemmas on how to categorize what the hell I do for a living.