Spotify is the hottest new music service around, and it got even hotter when it opened up its service to third-party apps. These free apps extend Spotify’s usefulness, and are easily added via the App Finder in Spotify’s navigation sidebar.
With more than a dozen apps to choose from, which are the most interesting or useful for Spotify users?
Let’s start with Spotify’s Last.fm app. Last.fm is a web-based service that introduces listeners to new music, based their current musical tastes. The Last.fm website works with a variety of media players and music services (including Spotify) by tracking the music you listen to and then recommending other music you might like. Last.fm calls this transmittal of music from one service to another scrobbling.
Now, Spotify already integrates with Last.fm, even before you add the Last.fm app. When you enable scrobbling in Spotify, all the music you listen to is automatically sent to Last.fm for analysis. (You activate scrobbling by selecting Edit, Preferences to display the Preferences page; go to the Activity Sharing section and check the Scrobble to Last.fm option. When prompted for your Last.fm username and password provide them.)
Once you’ve activated scrobbling with Spotify, you can use the Last.fm app to view the personalized recommendations based on your Spotify activityand use those recommendations to play new music on Spotify (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 The Last.fm Spotify app.
The Last.fm app consists of four clickable tabs, as follows:
- Overview, which provides a quick glance at Last.fm’s recommendations. The Recommended for You section lists Last.fm’s top recommended albums, based on other music you’ve played; the Albums section displays those entire albums you’ve played within the past three months; the Recent Tracks section lists those individual tracks you’ve recently played on Spotify; and the Loved Tracks section lists those tracks you’ve “loved” on Last.fm.
- Now Playing, which details the track you’re currently listening to on Spotify. Not only do you see information about the track and recording artist, you can also “love” the track or create a playlist with similar tracks. Similar artists are listed beneath the track/artist description.
- Recommended, which lists a dozen albums Last.fm recommends based on your current listening habits. Under each album cover, Last.fm describes why this album was recommended. You can listen to any of these albums, view more recommended albums, or create a Spotify playlist from music on the recommended albums.
- Albums, which lists those full albums you’ve recently listened to on Spotify. Click the Add as Playlist button to add an album as a Spotify playlist.
These are all great ways to discover new music, and make the Last.fm app one of my favorites. But there’s also a hidden feature that provides additional recommendations; when you drag a song from your Spotify library and drop it on the Last.fm title in the sidebar, Last.fm automatically creates a playlist of twenty tracks similar to that song. Neat!