What’s the difference between Spotify and last.fm?
- last.fm limits the number of times you can listen to a song for free
- Spotify inserts adverts between songs
- last.fm generates a radio station based on an artist or a tag; so you won’t just get songs from the artist you named, you’ll also get songs from other artists. Spotify lets you play specific artists only, or just specific albums
- last.fm automatically “scrobbles” your music and lets you re-find things you’ve played before
- last.fm puts a lot of focus on the social elements, on sharing what you’ve scrobbled, on scrobbling in groups. It’s just as much social network as it is music service
- Spotify does the reverse, it puts the focus on music. There are social aspects to it, but you have to hunt them down (they’re not obvious to start with)
Right now, I prefer Spotify, but that’s because I usually prefer to listen to a specific album. That’s partly down to my age – I grew up listening to albums and still prefer either that, or listening to my entire music collection on shuffle mode when I want some variety. I’m using Spotify to listen to many of the albums that I feel I should have heard by now, but never have. In recent days that means a lot of 60s and 70s rock by Cream, The Byrds and so on. But the week before that, I was on a world music and hiphop kick and listened to a lot of 90s rap.
Another good thing about Spotify: I can listen to the albums I used to own on LP or cassette, but either gave away, sold, lost, or scratched to the point where they were no longer playable.
The advertising is bearable. It’s only one ad every five or six songs. That’s much less than commercial radio, and I can cope with it without feeling the need to throw the laptop through the window.