Yesterday it was LinkedIn and eHarmony accounts compromised; today it's Last.fm. The music-streaming service is advising users to change their passwords immediately.
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We're pretty keen on apps for enhancing Last.fm here at Lifehacker, but the service just became a lot less relevant for Australians. Nick over at Gizmodo reports that Australian users will now have to pay 3 Euros a month to listen to Last.fm music. While you can still access the other services Last.fm offers, as Nick correctly points out most of those are a lot less interesting if you don't use the main player. The service is still free for the big three music markets (the US, UK and Germany), so it's hard to avoid the conclusion that (as ever) Australia is just not a priority for new digital entertainment options.Farewell Last.FM, We Hardly Knew Thee...
Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
Windows only: Last.FM Downloader is a lightweight application for grabbing music from the popular streaming music service Last.FM and saving it for local use.Unlike some of the similar applications we've previously reviewed, Last.FM Downloader doesn't require .NET or installation. The application is completely stand alone with no installation required. Usage is straight forward, run the application and plug in a URL for the song or playlist you want to download, you can even grab the similar artists playlist if you're looking for a little variety. While the author's web site notes that you don't need a Last.FM account, it seems to be only semi-true: for some strange reason I could download the similar artists playlist without being logged in but I could only download individual songs when logged in. Last.FM Downloader is portable freeware, Windows only.Last.FM Downloader
If you're a fan of social music service Last.fm and you have a Vodafone mobile, you could be in luck. Vodafone Scrobbler lets you access Last.fm on a small group of Nokia handsets with Vodafone accounts, including the N95, N96, N78 and 6210. Vodafone is promising more models and the ability to purchase music through the service (an option already available in Germany) in the future. Vodafone Scrobbler is a free download for select Nokia handsets (currently).Vodafone Scrobbler
Marking a song as "Loved" or a "Favorite" on music discovery apps like Last.fm and Pandora doesn't help you a whole lot when you want to hear them again. Free mashup site Favtape bridges the gaps between your Last.fm or Pandora profile, track-finding sites like Seeqpod, and the dead-simple interface of a site like Muxtape to create a playlist of your marked tracks. Some tracks might not actually play once loaded into Favtape, but it's a cool way to create an instant playlist of songs you'll definitely like.Favtape.com
iPhone/iPod touch only: Free music discovery service Last.fm has launched its own iPhone/iPod touch 2.0 app, and it does exactly what you'd hope it would, with a few caveats. The interface is straightforward and simple, at least for experienced Last.fm users—launch the app, then choose from your "Recommended Radio" or enter an artist name to hear other tracks you might like. You can ban, skip, or "Love" tracks while they're playing, and get artist bios and other information. The big downside (inherent to the iPhone) is the lack of backgroung playing, so you've got to keep the Last.fm app up while you're streaming your music. At the same time, the app makes Safari recognise direct lastfm:// links for convenient linking and playing. Hit the jump for a video demonstration and a direct link to the free app in the iTunes Store; jailbreak fans, check out MobileScrobbler for a similar solution.
Need empirical proof that you're listening to the same old artists over and over on music discovery site Last.fm? LastGraph, a slick little API app coded by Andrew Godwin, takes your Last.fm username and models it into revealing timeline graphs. Check out your overall listening frequency, and an eye-popping multi-colour artist history timeline. The big caveat is that LastGraph must, for now, institute hold queues for data-gathering and timeline rendering. If you can keep your browser open for a bit, however, it's a neat way to pull more useful data from your Last.fm profile.
Web site Last.fm + YouTube is a mashup that pulls music videos from YouTube based on artists and music in your Last.fm profile. To use it, just hand over your Last.fm username or the name of an artist you like and it starts streaming YouTube music videos. I've been tuned into my Last.fm + YouTube channel most of the morning, and so far it's been good listening and watching. If you give it a try, let's hear how you like your personal MTV in the comments.Last.fm + YouTube = music tv goodness
Windows Vista only: Freeware Windows Media Center plug-in MceFM integrates music recommendation and streaming service Last.fm with your Vista Media Center. The tool actually works in conjunction with the music already in Media Center's music library, so you can get recommendations based on your music and then listen to it all within Media Center. MceFM is currently in beta and could use some polish, but it's a great start. If you haven't already turned your Windows PC into a Media Center powerhouse on the cheap, I'd highly recommend it—Vista Media Center is Vista's one feature I consider worth the upgrade.MceFM
Mac OS X only: Freeware application TotalTunes Control is an all-in-one iTunes controller and add-on that rolls track notifications, Last.fm integration, Growl notifications, keyboard shortcuts into one beautiful, fun to use package. When we recently featured free alternatives to the MacHeist bundle, we included handful of freeware iTunes controllers that could take the place of CoverSutra, but TotalTunes Control blows the whole bunch out of the water. It's got loads of worthwhile functionality, it's very attractive, and best of all, it's freeware. If you're looking for more ways to make the most of iTunes, check out our top 23 iTunes add-ons.
Windows Mobile 5 and 6: An early version of a Last.fm client for Windows Mobile has been released in the wild, giving Pocket PC and Smartphone users access to the social music service's streaming radio (on Pocket PC at least) and custom recommendation tools through "scrobbling." The client isn't exactly streamlined or hugely pretty at the moment, but having access to user-generated radio streams is a pretty nifty app for any phone. You'll need to download the client onto a computer and upload it to your device, and further installation instructions are at the link below. Last.fm Mobile requires Windows Mobile 5 or 6 and the .NET Compact Framework 2.0. iPhone and iPod Touch users can check out MobileScrobbler for a wider-screen webapp version.Where to download and how to use last.fm Mobile
Windows only: Free music downloading software Freemusiczilla listens to what's playing in your web browser and makes it available for downloading as distinct mp3 files. We've featured individual music service downloading apps before, like Pandora's Jar, but Freemusiczilla seems to sniff out nearly any Flash or AJAX-based music player, be it Last.fm, Pandora, iMeem, MySpace, or many more custom or streaming services. The program limits you to 10 mp3 downloads per day, presumably in waiting for a fully-enabled "premium" version, but gives you three minutes into each track to decide if you want to download or not.
Wired's How To Wiki serves up a compilation of web sites where you can hear music, whether streaming or downloaded, for free. The page-in-progress offers up the free and legal (including Last.fm and Deezer), the quasi-legal and the Pirate Bay variety. Check out our previous guide to finding free music, and feel free to drop your favourite free music sources in the comments.Cheat the Music Industry: Never Pay for Music