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Last.fm releases “Best of 2008″ data

Alex Christie

10 December 2008

It's for
interesting little features like it's "Best of 2008" that I made last.fm one of
my favourite sites on the internet. What they've basically done is compiled some
really simple and interesting statistics based on peoples scrobbling habits. This means we get an insight into what people are listening to rather
than the usual "such and suck have sold x records".
As the name suggests this
is a review of the most listened to music in 2008. This has been split into
three categories: Artists, Albums and Tracks. Now, if you don't want me to spoil
it for you go and take a look now before I pass my commentary on results :
)

So, the first thing I looked at was Albums. It took me a couple of
seconds to work out what was going on and how to use the interface but once you
open your eyes (too used to skimming web-pages) it all becomes obvious and is a
joy to use. At this point I also realise that the rankings are done in listeners
and not scrobbles, I'd have liked to be able to change that and get an idea of
what the most scrobbled music is, however I can see how this would be easily
open to abuse. At number 10, it's nice to see something non-anglo-american and
not particularly mainstream in Sigur Ros.

Places 9 and 8
are also not unpleasant to see, with Jack Johnson and Hot Chip respectively.
Number 7 makes me sit up a little with Death Cab for Cutie. Blimey, last.fm
listeners are a credible bunch (although not a fan per se,
I know a few people with very credible music tastes who like them).Viva-la-vida
The Kooks and
The Ting Tings make somewhat expected entries at 6 and 5. Number 4 however,
almost had me spitting back into my tea, Nine Inch Nails at number four most
listened to album on last.fm (ok, album with the most listeners but still. And no,
not a fan, look at my taste), I was really expecting to be drinking from the
mainstream at this point! In at 3rd is Portishead, this has me smiling as it's
the only album in this list I bought, however as last.fm point out, this may be
skewed by the fact they had this album available before general release. Second
place went to MGMT's début album Oracular Spectacular, which I'm afraid I don't have
much of an opinion on which speeds us along to 1st place. Ahh, there we go, I knew
I'd find that stream eventually; Coldplay with Viva La Vida. 
Katy-perry

This
slightly disappointingly predictable end has me quickly checking out the most listened to tracks; but with the exception of Katy Perry at number 7 (guilty
pleasure anyone, no, just me?), all the tracks go to MGMT (10th, 4th and 3rd)
with all the rest going to, yes you guessed it Coldplay (9, 8, 6, 5, 2, 1). Now
without looking in detail at the numbers my previous opinion of credibility
about last.fm listeners is starting to falter.

MGMTThe artists
their début in 2008, jolly good, no Coldplay here then (I don't dislike them,
they're just a bit obvious and last.fm for me has always been about discovery).
Well I was pleasantly suprised to have to wait till 7th before I recognised the
name (despite knowing some of the acts they were associated with) and the
following places down to 4th 
I think I
recognised from the hype-machine that is the Radio. Third place Sara Bareilles
has me a little stumped and down on the list of 'must check out later' (please
don't be over-indulgent folk). Second is occupied by The Ting Tings (yawn) with
first place occupied by MGMT, fair enough.

So in review the results are
quite an interesting insight to last.fm's demographic and I love the fact that
they've done this, they have little to gain apart from a little interest from
people like you and me. I suppose the marketeers among you would tell me about
it building the brand and so be it if it's going to be this insightful. The
inner-geek (remember to embrace) in me loves the graphs, related content
mash-ups and RESTful URLs but I thought I'd do an opinion piece rather than a
geek's post.


Nice1 last.fm,
keep up the stellar work and to anyone who hasn't checked it out yet go do it,
you can try it out with out signing up or anything, just bang your favourite
artist in here and start listening.

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