Farewell, Last.FM! Farewell, Weekly Charts! Farewell, Addiction!

October 9, 2008 at 1:26 pm (Essays) (, , , , )

Good? Evil? A neutral computer program?

Good? Evil? A neutral computer program?

I’ve deleted my Last.FM page. Permanently. Wiped it cleand. Deleted all of the plays. Every single song out of my 70,000+ profile. More than three years of my listening at the computer.

Every Sunday Last.FM updated my page with my “Most Played” songs and “Most Played” artists for the week. The new software release even allowed me to scrobble plays from my iPod. No longer was I bound to the computer, I could share what I listened to at work and more!

So why did I erase my profile? The very reason I frequented the site and even logged into my account while using friend’s computers. I was obsessed. Completely. In writing this article I wanted to do two things: put into writing how music became joyless as a reminder to myself, and to seek some companionship in the form of a support group.

Yes, it’s that bad. Yes, it’s also that silly. And probably very hard to understand if you aren’t a Last.FM user yourself. But I honestly want to know if there are people out there like me! I can’t have been the only person to have descended into a kind of dark obsession, creating a myriad of rules and regulations for my favorite pastime.

What are the symptoms of Last.FM addiction? There may be more. I am breaking ground here, and I fully expect to be cited in the next DSM. All I can do is provide my own symptoms, as they gradually set in over years of use.

Avoidance of long songs in favor of short ones. The more scrobbled, the merrier, right? Except grind bands with 30 second songs are cheating. That doesn’t count. So it looks something like this: Malevolent Creation > Opeth as well as Nasum.

Only listen to full albums! Too many scattered songs and your Last.FM weekly roll call will be a mess of 4 or 5 play-count bands.

Once you get on a roll with a band, you start to play that band’s music more often simply to boost their stats for the week, not because you want to hear them more.

Competing against yourself. Watching your top bands struggle for the top spot.

Competing against others. Don’t let their total number of plays beat yours!

Avoiding listening to music when it won’t be scrobbled.

All of these were stupid rules that very slowly grasped the love of my life and throttled the fun out of it, until it was a stiff act that was done for something other than myself. In my mind, music is a personal thing. Last.FM embodies the polar opposite of that. There may be some of you who can listen to what you want, when you want, consequences-be-damned. But if my extensive music collection says anything, it’s that I have a tendency to become obsessed.

Deleting Last.FM may be a wise legal move as well. For those of you with illegal mp3s, scrobbling them probably isn’t a great idea. Last.FM is owned by CBS, after all. So after you download that new album leak from a torrent, think twice about scrobbling it. What a convenient way for a label to find people who obtained an illegal leak of an album. You could file this under paranoia if you want, but keep in mind a mother was recently ordered a more than $200,00 fine for making 16 Opeth songs available for download. Yes, it was on Limewire, but don’t think that the RIAA is unaware of “mp3 blogs” and Last.FM.

So, RIP Last.FM. I’m already thinking about making another one, but I am also enjoying my new found freedom. Leave a comment if you’ve experienced the addiction or if you think I’m an oddball. Or both.

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Useful music links

June 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm (Links) (, , , )

  • Metal archives:

Metal Archives
This is the number one site on the web for band information. I doubt there’s a metalhead out there who hasn’t used this site, in fact if they’re anything like me they use it daily. If you ever can’t quite remember what label released an album, what year it came out, what the band’s line up was, or any other trivia, check here first. Metal archives also has reviews for albums, the album art, band logos, etc.

  • Last.fm (Previously known as audioscrobbler):

Last FM
Much like “google”, “scrobble” is a made-up word that has found its way into the lexicon of internet nerds worldwide. LastFM works like this: you install a plugin to iTunes or Winamp, and everytime you listen to a song it gets scrobbled to your profile on the LastFM website. Every Sunday LastFM releases your charts, showing your most played artists, songs, etc. These charts can be embedded as images to blogs,forums, etc, and are a way of showing off your mp3 collection as well as your personal taste. LastFM also offers links to Youtube videos of bands, pictures, discussion boards, and more. By browsing your musical “neighbors” you can generally find bands that you’ve never heard, and are likely to enjoy.

  • Blabbermouth:

Blabbermouth metal news
The CNN of metal news. Blabbermouth is updated constantly, but features some bias. Roadrunner Records runs Blabbermouth, so expect a lot of articles about Dave Mustaine, Opeth, and other Roadrunner bands. They do a lot of news on mainstream bands but plenty of smaller bands get articles too. I have this site set as my homepage, so everytime I start Mozilla, I get an update on the music world. Blabbermouth is also equally famous for their comment system. News articles get vicious replies and heated debates start in many of the postings.

  • Soulkiller Webzine:

Soulkiller
A primitive version of Blabbermouth. Not a check-daily site, but they post some news you don’t always see on Blabbermouth.

  • All CD cover, tray, booklet scans

AllCD covers
A great site that has hi-res scans of CD and DVD covers, inlay trays and back covers. This site covers all genres of music, not just extreme metal. Very useful for looking at out of print CD inlays and for saving the images, incase you want to use some as a slide show screensaver or as desktop backgrounds.

  • More metal CD scans

Truemetal.org Wallpaper
This is a more basic site, but it still has some great hi-res scans of some of the best art out there.

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