Why Last.fm Ought to Love its Fans

As long as I’ve been paying attention to Last.fm, I’ve been fascinated by what a loyal fanbase they have. Not userbase. FANbase. People who will bend over backwards to defend the site’s developers against disgruntled users. And now, people who will pick up the slack when they miss important boats.

As everyone knows, last week Facebook opened its doors to outside developers, letting them develop applications that can be integrated into Facebook profiles. Last.fm competitors iLike and MOG were on the scene immediately. In no time, iLike catapulted to the top with over 500,000 users (seems to me they’re picking up on the order of 100,000 iLike Application users a day on Facebook) making it by far the most popular application. MOG’s application does not seem to be having as much success.

And where is Last.fm, the most popular music networking site of them all? MIA. Says Russ, one of Last.fm’s top devs:

We are working on it, however Facebook gave our competitors several weeks’ head start over this, which they perplexingly didn’t give us.

But not to fear, because in the meantime, Last.fm fans have wasted no time in buiding their own applications to integrate Last.fm data into Facebook profiles. Among them:

Last.fm Charts

Last.fm which is very sweet as it lets people stream your most recent listens (well, at least 30 seconds of some of them anyway)


xat’s Last.fm plugin which I’d like more if it would refresh.

Fortunately, Last.fm did know to say thank you:

Thanks for the interest guys — we’re doing our best and will have something pretty cool for you soon.

Then we’ll be relying on you all to spread the word. May the best music revolution win! ;)

On a related note, I’ve been using Facebook for a little over a year, ever since David Silver said something to the effect that people who teach college students about the internet are negligent if they aren’t on Facebook, leading to one of those hard cold moments of shameful recognition of the truth that sent me scurrying to create an account ASAP. But until recently, there’d been nothing for me there. Sure I can see pictures of my students (too often with alcohol in hand) and I like being able to follow my favorite students after they graduate through the site, but the few peers I had on there weren’t really using it to communicate with each other, if they were using it at all.

But in the last 2 months something really changed. Maybe it was Richard Smith creating a group for the Association of Internet Researchers’ fall meeting in Vancouver. Maybe it was just critical mass. But suddenly the joint is hopping with so many of my honest-to-goodness friends that it’s become the Must Visit spot on my daily internet rounds.

Meanwhile, on yet another related note, I’ve started a Last.fm group for scrobblers who study the internet. If you’re one of them, please join us here.

But if what they say is true, what’s with Facebook leaving Last.fm out of the loop? That’s not right.

Update: Official App is now out and fine as the user-generated ones were, it’s way way better than them.

Comments (3) to “Why Last.fm Ought to Love its Fans”

  1. Well, you’ll have to take my word for it ;).

    But this much is true – the biggest unofficial Last.fm app (written by a high school freshman!) currently has 12,397 users, which should rank it in the top 25 apps (bigger than Twitter and Digg). But Facebook don’t seem to have approved it.

  2. It will be interesting to see how well the fan base weathers a CBS/Viacom buyout. I suspect that last.fm will have to be very careful about any changes to the system, since the users will be skeptical of motives.

    As for facebook, although I’ve never gotten it to work, the importing of email address books has probably driven a lot of the recent expansion over the last few months.

    I’m a “joiner” and so, mainly for the reasons David suggests, got on facebook pretty quickly. But I also found my uses for it to be pretty limited–at least for now.

  3. Hey Alex — My guess is that the last.fm fans will not care very much. For one thing, a buyout has seemed inevitable for quite a while now. In past forum threads where people were advocating for a more community-driven/owned focus, that perspective met with little support. My sense is that most of the users who pay attention to these things (with the exception of a few critical sorts) are going to be loyal and unquestioning as long as the founders and people like Russ remain. Now if Russ (not a founder but the most visible face of site development) and RJ got fired I’d expect user rebellion (I’m not sure most users pay much attention to RJ’s co-founders, Martin and Felix, who keep lower profiles on site than RJ and Russ).