Radio Serendipidity with Last.Fm

My musical listening patterns are not circumscribed by style but more by my energy in reaching out to new artists and styles. If a CD is available at the public library, I might bring it home for a listen. I stumble upon other music through recommendations from friends or my sister, in particular. I’ve been trying out Last.Fm on my Ubuntu PC and it’s been both a great music source as well as way to find out about new or forgotten music.

If you’ve never used Last.Fm, a free music resource, you create a username and password and then you can select an artist or keyword to “play” music.  Usually Last.Fm will start off with a track by that artist, and then start to play related music.  If you like the tune, you can add it to a playlist, mark it as one you “love”, and add tags to it.  If you don’t like it, you can skip it or, if you REALLY don’t want to hear it again, you can ban it.

I was listening to music based on The Farm, an English band I listened to when I studied at the University of Sheffield.  Other recent stations I’ve listened to are also from that general time period – Blondie, Hüsker Dü, and Madness – and they have all reminded me of songs I had forgotten I knew or included live versions or bands that I’d never heard before.

I know there are other services like this – Pandora, for one, although it’s not available in Canada – but Last.Fm is a great resource for the musically lazy.  Type in one of your favorite bands and you may soon finding yourself drifting along into areas you’ve never explored before.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.