Cackles of Compassion Lite

21 August, 2005 at 7:49 pm (music, webjunk)

For those of you who miss the ability to listen to Ben, Ken, and Dimitri’s revolutionarily self-indulgent college radio show as recreated through the magic of Live365.com, I have a partial solution: Last.fm and Audioscrobbler.com.

Last.fm black CDAudioscrobbler is plug-in that allows you to send any music that you play on your computer to a user account. This user account is hosted by Last.fm, which synchs your data with a fairly vast collection of licensed music, which allows you to listen to a streaming audio radio station that is based upon similar music to what you’ve played on your personal computer. One can also listen to the music favoured by one’s “musical neighbors”, people who have listening profiles similar to your own.

One only gets a month of free personal radio, which begins immediately after creating a user account. Listening to one’s neighbors is always free, but less likely to simply be music one likes. If one wants to be able to listen to one’s own musical tastes wherever one has a computer and a sufficiently speedy ‘net connection, one has to pay a “minimum suggested donation” of twelve dollars for a year’s subscription. Cheaper than National Public Radio.

So what’s the point? Signing up with Last.fm and listing me as a friend means that you can listen to my personal station, which is essentially like listening to Big Cackles of Compassion. The bands that Last.fm has in their library is quite compatible with my tastes: they have the eels, Suzanne Vega, Stacey Kent, The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, Propellerheads, tAtU (in Russian!), The Cure, Frou Frou, Ani DiFranco, The Shins, The Who… If only they had a little Tom Lehrer and some more Stephen Sondheim, it could be just like the snippets of music that Dimitri and I would play between our interminable on-air conversation.

Also, how can you go wrong with an online service that promises you a pony when you subscribe?

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