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View Full Version : Last.fm or Pandora?



Kyle
2006-02-17, 09:50
Now that folks have had a chance to mess around with Pandora, are there distinct differences between these two services? Should I pay for Last.fm or wait for a free trial of Pandora? What are the pros and cons of each?

)p(
2006-02-17, 10:25
Now that folks have had a chance to mess around with Pandora, are there distinct differences between these two services? Should I pay for Last.fm or wait for a free trial of Pandora? What are the pros and cons of each?

What i noticed is that when you start out with pandora with one band. You do get very similar sounding tracks in terms of voice, rythm and instruments. Much more similar sounding then when you do the same with last fm. But as you start adding more band and/or choose play more like this song a few times. The variety grows and the bands played start to get more and more similar to what last fm played from the start.

So in my limited experience the end result is almost the same...

peter

Siduhe
2006-02-17, 10:32
I find that LastFM plays me a slightly wider variety of music, but often from less "popular" (not in the pop music sense) bands. I also find LastFM a bit more flexible because of the multi-user tagging system, so I can say...play me all the songs that people have tagged as "good songs to listen before going out on Saturday night". The downside is that same flexibility - people's tastes vary wildly and you sometimes hear stuff tagged as "breaks" that is very far from what you consider "breaks".

Pandora seems rather better moderated to me (but I rarely hear things that surprise me on it, whereas that often happens with LastFM).

Obviously Pandora is US only (but there are ways to get round that apparently).

Also, you don't have to subscribe to LastFM to get the benefits - there is a totally free option, but you don't get things like personal radio.

Kyle
2006-02-17, 11:27
Also, you don't have to subscribe to LastFM to get the benefits - there is a totally free option, but you don't get things like personal radio.
How much better are the subsciption features than the free service?

Siduhe
2006-02-17, 12:45
http://www.last.fm/subscribe.php#features

I think it kind of depends what you're into. I have pretty eclectic tastes (although doesn't everyone say that ?) and I have very definite musical moods. So, I use the Personal Radio, Personal Tag Radio (i.e. "Saturday night songs" or "songs which use the word serendipity") and the Loved Tracks radio most, hence subscription is essential for me. I'm also a big fan of Discovery Radio
(i.e. play me stuff I've never heard before). All of these are subscriber benefits.

I think Pandora's great too, but less flexible - that said, I've spent a lot more time playing around with LastFM. At 18 for one year, it's pretty good value too.

One thing I should mention to be completely fair, is that LastFM has had a lot of downtime over the last year whilst they essentially try to turn a hobby into a business, upgrade kit and generally professionalise the whole thing. It's been pretty stable recently, but I suspect Pandora may be a bit more reliable overall.

Edited to say: I've been thinking some more about how to categorise the difference between Pandora and LastFM. IMHO, you have to put a bit more work into LastFM to get the best out of it, but it's inherently more flexible if you want to cover a wide variety of music and musical moods. Pandora's also very linear (i.e focusing on "your" music - although you can direct other people to your page) whereas LastFM is also focused on showing you what other people are listening to too and making connections between you and those people.

jmpage2
2006-02-17, 16:31
I have to say that after trying both I really like last.fm better. One thing that irritates me about Pandora is that it won't let you skip beyond a certain number of tracks an hour, which is extremely irritating if you are just listening to new stuff to get a feel for it.

Last.fm sets up a very cool user page for you which shows all sorts of statistics and lets you custom tag all the music you've listened to.

If you become a subscriber with Last.fm (which I have) then you get your own personal radio as well as the ability to play your "loved" tracks whenever you want, also very cool.

Sound quality for last.fm seems slightly better to me too, I wonder if they are using a better codec.

All in all my enthusiasm for pandora has faded after trying last.fm. I am very impressed with it.

<edit>

One thing I forgot to mention is that there are even scrobbler plugins for iPod, Rio Karma and other music players for last.fm. This is really cool as when I synch my iPod it uploads a list of all tracks I've listened to so that last.fm can add it to my user profile.

fairyliquidizer
2006-02-17, 17:50
I find the Last FM music choices hit or miss but hope this will improve as it monitors my listening more. Pandora gets off to a good start and that's as much as I can say at the moment. However if you set up your page and explore the features of LastFM (which can be a bit confusing at first, at least I hope it's just at first) one starts to warm to the "music community" that they are creating where you can share thoughts etc by creating pages on artists, or just leaving messages in the shoutbox, or feedback on artist blog things, or the forum or.....

Yeah I'm growing to like LastFM. I've subscribed for 1 month as an experiment. I might try a month without but it's pretty cheap and it's interesting.

I must say that I find these extras for the SB like LastFM and MusicMagic Mixer add a lot to the fun and in the case of MMM ease of use. I view MMM as the user interface and DBMS that Slimdevices never got round to adding (and maybe don't need to as they are available with MMM). I would HATE it if MMM were to one day stop working with SB as it is a great front end for the back end. It's also so sweet the way you can use it from the SB remote. Ok, I've gone off topic sorry.

Back on LastFM, for me having plugins not only for SB (AS+LFM) but Audioscrobblers for Foobar2000 and iTunes make it much more usable.

Fairy

Kyle
2006-02-17, 18:15
Ok, I've gone off topic sorry.

Fairy
That's OK. I like MMM, too, but I'm a little concerned about the duplicate tracks that are starting to show up when I call up an album.

jmpage2
2006-02-17, 19:02
That's OK. I like MMM, too, but I'm a little concerned about the duplicate tracks that are starting to show up when I call up an album.

What the heck is MMM?

kdf
2006-02-17, 19:08
Quoting jmpage2 <jmpage2.23ek6b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

> What the heck is MMM?
MusicMagic Mixer
see http://music.predixis.com
kdf

stinkingpig
2006-02-17, 21:45
....
> One thing I forgot to mention is that there are even scrobbler plugins
> for iPod, Rio Karma and other music players for last.fm. This is
> really cool as when I synch my iPod it uploads a list of all tracks
> I've listened to so that last.fm can add it to my user profile.
....

that is the first thing that has ever made me want to replace my iRiver
ihp-120. dang!

--
Jack Coates At Monkeynoodle Dot Org: It's A Scientific Venture!
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin, so across the Western
ocean I must wander" - traditional

fairyliquidizer
2006-02-18, 07:10
That's OK. I like MMM, too, but I'm a little concerned about the duplicate tracks that are starting to show up when I call up an album.

A couple of people have mentioned this. The only problem I had was when I added tracks by browsing (or pointing at the Music Folder) and through the Music Match database. I don't have my Music Folder set and I don't add through browsing (i.e. playing tracks on the HDD through Slimserver).

Fairy

fairyliquidizer
2006-02-18, 07:15
What the heck is MMM?

You can use it to manager your album database and make mixes from the Squeezebox, MMM, or Slimserver.

pedalvet
2006-02-18, 07:48
This is the first I've heard of LastFM. I assume from the discussion here that you can stream LastFM over the SB, like you can with Pandora? From the posts here, sounds very much worth checking out.

Kyle
2006-02-18, 11:51
This is the first I've heard of LastFM. I assume from the discussion here that you can stream LastFM over the SB, like you can with Pandora? From the posts here, sounds very much worth checking out.
Go to the plugins page for info.

fuzzyT
2006-02-20, 13:14
And here is a link to an interesting discussion of how each service
works, and how they might differ in usage:

http://www.stevekrause.org/steve_krause_blog/2006/01/pandora_and_las.html

--rt

mattybain
2006-02-21, 00:27
One thing I forgot to mention is that there are even scrobbler plugins for iPod, Rio Karma and other music players for last.fm. This is really cool as when I synch my iPod it uploads a list of all tracks I've listened to so that last.fm can add it to my user profile.

Does this actually work? I only question it because of this link direct from the LastFM website http://xurble.org/about/iScrobblerforWindowsFAQ.php where it says "Will songs I listen to on my iPod be submitted to Audioscrobbler?

Unfortunately not at the moment. The Mac bods have this working, but I don't have an iPod to implement it. Why not buy me one? I haven't had time to do anything about it. I believe there are people who are working on this"

Is there another plugin that will download what is listened to on my ipod?

jmpage2
2006-02-21, 08:52
Does this actually work? I only question it because of this link direct from the LastFM website http://xurble.org/about/iScrobblerforWindowsFAQ.php where it says "Will songs I listen to on my iPod be submitted to Audioscrobbler?

Unfortunately not at the moment. The Mac bods have this working, but I don't have an iPod to implement it. Why not buy me one? I haven't had time to do anything about it. I believe there are people who are working on this"

Is there another plugin that will download what is listened to on my ipod?

Yes, there is a plugin that works, jscrob2 is loaded as a "visualizer" in iTunes and then configured with your last.fm login and password info.

It then takes the "recently played" list from your iPod when synched and loads the newly listened to tracks directly to last.fm.

I haven't had a problem with it and it's nice to have my iPod listening habits captured on last.fm.