Ok, I admit it, I'm generally no where near the forefront of technological discovery - but I don't think I'm at the rear either. This week's discovery is already changing my life. I'd heard about it last year but just took it as another "social networking" site and therefore something I didn't really need. Ok it had something to do with music but so what? Then an article in the Guardian newspaper made it sound a little more than that so I thought I'd check it out. Now, god damn it, I'm hooked.
How do you describe last.fm? Personalised radio? Music spider-web? Aural world organiser? I don't know - all I know is that I don't think I'll ever listen to music in the same way again. So let's get down to the practicalities - it's legal, it's not a file sharing service (hence the legality) but it gives you access to 1000s of music tracks whenever you want by choosing a "radio station" based on an artist's "similar artists" or a genre. I'm currently listening to "artists similar to The Hold Steady" (as recommended by darling Rand) and so far I've had a Bournemouth band called Art Brut and an American band called Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. I haven't heard of either of the them before, but so far I'm liking both of them.
Friday night Husband and I were sitting out on the front patio, drinking a little and enjoying the first summer night where we could enjoy the great outdoors (how crap is that) and had the "british folk" station playing through the window. On came Kate Rusby, June Tabor, Fairport Convention, Billy Bragg, Maddy Prior- things we'd heard, things we hadn't but like the sound of. A perfect soundtrack chosen for us by some wonderful algorithm beyond our comprehension. And do you know what? It's already learning what I like and making recommendations!
Go on, click the big red button.... and come into my magical musical land....