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Technology should make our lives easier
• Free music streaming
• No time or skip limits
• Great for discovering new music and artists
• Outdated interface
• Not user-friendly
Last.fm is a solid service for music streaming, but greatly lacks in usability and features. It has a few navigation issues and a crowded interface, but keep in mind you get it all for free. If you haven’t used a streaming service before, you will be satisfied with Last.fm, but there are others out there offering better service. Last.fm is a great option for those who don’t want to dish out cash to stream music.
Last.fm is completely free, giving you full access to all of its services at no cost. The service has a basic username, email and password signup. Users can also sign up by connecting their Facebook account to their Last.fm account. After your account is created, you will instantly have access to Last.fm and its streaming services. Upon logging in for the first time, Last.fm will ask you to input some of your favorite artists, which will affect your music recommendations.
Last.fm has decent-sized library of music, with songs from any artist you can think of. You will occasionally notice some extremely popular songs missing from the service, but Last.fm always offers a price-list of places to buy a track. You can’t pick and choose exactly which songs you want to play on Last.fm, so you will have to listen to a certain artist’s station and hope you run into the song you want to hear from that artist.
Last.fm takes the station-type approach with its streaming. Type in an artist or genre you enjoy and Last.fm will do its best to stream songs from that artist/genre or songs of similar taste. Last.fm also offers a “Your Recommended Radio” option, which will play artists recommended to you based on your music library and favorite artists. There is also an option to play music that’s been added to your music profile, which contains songs you’ve listened to in the past.
Scrobbling – Scrobbling keeps track of all the music you listen to and puts it into your music profile, which then affects your “Library radio” station. The Scrobbler can even be downloaded to take music from your computer or ipod and add it to your library.
Unlimited skips – Last.fm allows you to skip songs as many times as you like. Many other streaming services only allow a certain number of skips before forcing you to stop. Ads will likely show up after a few skips, however.
MP3 downloads – Last.fm will recommend some free MP3 songs to you on the homepage, but their likely to be unpopular songs. If you find a song you like and can’t get it for free, Last.fm shows a list of places to buy and download the song.
Mobile app –Last.fm offers a mobile app for both iPhone and Android. Enjoy your favorite stations on the go with this easy to use app.
Social networking capabilities –Connect your Last.fm account to Twitter or Facebook and share your loved tracks with your friends. Your Last.fm user profile will show your Twitter handle in the “About me” section after linking the accounts.
Ease of use
Last.fm’s interface, to put it simply, is outdated. Navigation is confusing and music streaming requires a full webpage by itself to play. Other music streaming services will allow you to continue to navigate the site on one-page, because the streaming stays running in the background. If you want to search for new artists or navigate other parts of Last.fm, you will have to stop streaming or open a new window. Overall it’s not hard to use, but it’s nowhere near as efficient as other music streaming services on our list.
Help & support
Last.fm offers a searchable FAQ page, which will likely answer most basic questions you may have. If the answer you desire isn’t located in the FAQ page, you can always take a visit to the help forum. Simply post a question in the forum and the Last.fm moderators will do their best to answer your question quickly.
Overall Last.fm is a nice music streaming service and is certainly worth a try. At the very worst, it’s a nice place to discover new music and get some free MP3 downloads for your music library. It might not be the best out there, but it’s free and effective. Give this one a try.
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