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Is Last.FM’s New Linux App A Hit?

A Slick New Interface Can't Auto-Tune One Glaring Fault...

The New Scrobbler from Last.FM

The New Scrobbler from Last.FM

Last.fm recently released a new version of their scrobbling app — including a native version for linux.

No longer is it a second class citizen with a nasty, sub-par interface, but rather a ‘proper’ desktop app — just as you would expect to find on OSX or Windows.

Built on WebKit, the app unsurprisingly runs very smoothly. When you click on the tabs in the sidebar, you’ll glide between the panels, much like in Gwibber.

Your Scrobbles are displayed in a list, and clicking on one takes you to an overview of the track and its artist.

The Profile section shows statistics about yourself: how many tracks you have Scrobbled, how many tracks you have ‘Loved’, and who your top-listened artists are.

When did you last have an urge to see what your contacts were listening to in real time? Now, you can — without even opening your web browser. The Friends section shows who you are connected to on the service and what they are listening to.

The Bum Note

However, the main reason you might want to use this on your desktop is not yet available for Linux.

In my testing none of the usual media apps are detected by thew new Scobbler, and there are no settings pertaining to which apps should be scrobbled.

The downloads page doesn’t actually say the Linux app will scrobble tracks from your local media players, so short of trying to shake some loose change out of Linux users pockets, you might wonder what the point of even making a Linux client was…

For now, the Linux Last.fm app isn’t useful for much more than looking shiny on your desktop unless you use the Radio feature:

Personal Radio

The Radio pane is the real boon of this app – Last.fm subscribers (£3/m) are able to listen to their radio directly in the desktop. Rhythmbox and a couple of other music apps support this as well, but options are always welcome — especially when provided by the official vendors.

Installing Last.fm Scrobbler

The app is distributed as an archive which needs to be manually built and installed. You can grab a tarball with everything you’ll need by hitting the button below.

Download Last.fm for Linux 

If you are running a Debian or Ubuntu based distribution (which you probably are!) then you can use Last.fm’s apt repository to install the app ‘the lazy way’.

Adding this isn’t quite as straightforward as adding a PPA, but it will ensure you are automatically updated to the lastest version as soon as its available.

Alternative Scrobbling Methods

Does it scrobble? The answer is almost always Yes!”

The majority of media applications these days support scrobbling out of the box, or via a plugin.

Banshee, Rhythmbox, Nuvola, VLC, Amarok, Clementine, Spotify for Linux are by some of the apps that come with Scrobble support built in. Check here to see if your favourite media player can scrobble.

All you need to do is enter your username and password, and the app will take care of the rest. Every track that gets played is submitted to your Last.fm profile.

Benefits of Scrobbling

Last.fm can generate personalised music channels

Last.fm can generate personalised music channels

Keeping a record of all the music you’ve listened to may seem a bit odd and pointless, save for nostalgic reasons and perhaps ‘showing off’ how much you listen to.

If you use the radio service, the channels can be tailored to what you like the most, whilst introducing you to new content at the same time. It uses a Love/Ban mechanism, where if you ‘Love’ the track then it will play more alike music, and if you ‘Ban’ it it will blacklist other music like it.

Last.fm also has tight integration with music events. Through partnerships with organisations all around the world, events are pulled into their database. Using a combination of your music tastes and location, the events are promoted to those who Last.fm believe the music will appeal to.

Try Last.fm’s new Linux scrobbler and see if it works for you. Not already scrobbling? Sign up and give it a go.