It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Last.FM. I’m a paying subscriber, and there are times when I’ll go 3-4 days in a row of not listening to any of my locally-stored music, in favor of the streaming goodness. However, Last.FM is missing one core ingredient that is really necessary for a solid experience – Context.
You’re wondering, what does context have to do with music? Plenty. First of all, let’s take, for example, Christmas Music. In my belief, it should only be listened to after Thanksgiving lunch, and only until New Years. The rest of the year, Christmas Music is 100% off limits, to preserve its ‘special-ness’. Last.FM doesn’t think so, as the other day, I got a Hootie and the Blowfish Christmas tune in my Counting Crows station.
Moreso, Context becomes uber-important when I want to listen to my ‘Recommended’ tracks, or other personal stations. For instance, since we’re currently in the Holiday season, Christmas Music is OK, and I listened to a Christmas tag station for several hours the other day. The next day, I went to my Recommended station, and got Christmas tunes. This makes sense now, but how is that station going to change in January, when Christmas music is no longer allowed?
Another perfect example of Context is the time of day that I listen to music. As somewhat of an insomniac, I often have trouble sleeping, and use music to give my brain something to focus on, other than the list of things I need to get done. It might be Enya, classical music, or nature sounds. If you checked my Last.FM profile, you’d see these types of music as a dominate trend, because they play overnight, all night long. Why can’t Last.FM realize that I’m playing this stuff at night, when I’m asleep, and remove it from consideration for my Recommended or Personal station?
There are plenty of other situations in which Context would be an important factor for Last.FM (or any similar music service), but it’s simply not factored in.