I’ve Had the Last of This: Why the New Last.FM Layout Sucks



Last.FM is a popular website that “brings together your favorite music services”

The new last.fm beta website and layout were previewed a month or so ago and were met with confusion. Now that it has been forced upon all users, many are outraged. Last.fm was once a simple and efficient platform chronicling one’s played tracks via “scrobbling”, and giving organization to evolving tastes with a fun online community supported by groups and forums. It has now sadly been reduced to an uninspired Spotify clone, thus draining profiles of originality in addition showcasing annoying advertisements and forced music trends.

Various changes in user interaction are a huge setback. The total elimination of “groups” is particularly tragic. A mass of different music circles used to populate the site, ranging from Dungeons and Dragons fans scoping out the best new songs to play for their next game, to hardcore hip hop fans uncovering rising talent.

last.fm LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT-- NBC Series -- Pictured: Ice-T as Det. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola -- NBC/Universal Photo: Paul Drinkwater

Everyone was happy when Ice-T narrated Dungeons and Dragons, however

Users who also flocked to other music sites and platforms found a home in their respective groups as well, including those centered on several subreddits and 4chan communities. The best part about groups is that they were virtually all extremely inclusive. Many tried to grow and promote discussion, with rarely ever an argument in sight. Groups were never pitted against each other, and most users were members of more than a few.  The depths of some metal groups, consisting of the extremely devoted and casual listeners alike, always provided me with songs and even whole bands I now deem as personal favorites. Digging even deeper into groups focusing on the avant-garde most definitely gave me music that I would have never found otherwise.

last.fm vaporwave essentials

The vaporwave chart that launched a thousand ships

Another disgusting alteration which is essential to the way users treat each other is the replacement of an easy friends system with a follower-based method lifted straight out of Spotify. Whereas friends mutually agreed to engage (kind of like…REAL FRIENDSHIP) by sharing scrobbles and sometimes conversation, followers just tempt users to be involved in narcissistic popularity contests belonging to the likes of the dumbest Twitter accounts.

By far the most treacherous crime in the transition is the removal of sidebars from profiles. For years, users customized their “About Me” section sidebars to their hearts’ content. Never did I see two sidebars that were the same.  And with last.fm allowing all image types including gifs, many profiles sustained their own unique and charming aesthetic.  People pasted everything in their About Me from professional concert photos to Steam gaming IDs. The biggest use for these sections, however, was for the many widgets created exclusively for the site. Users produced entire sites dedicated to using last.fm profiles’ metadata to make fun things like album art collages and band logo charts. That seems now to all be for naught.

With a design catered to mobile site visitors unabashedly hoping they accidently smash their thumb on an ad, the new last.fm site is a mockery of what it once was.  Last.fm has taken what was not broken, stripped it down to its bare bones, and slapped a cheap coat of new paint on it. Virtually nothing has been improved.

Mr. Alexander Ignacio Larios used to own a Sega Dreamcast. Follow him on Last.fm at: http://www.last.fm/user/KeroseneBath. on RateYourMusic at: https://rateyourmusic.com/~KeroseneBath. on Letterboxd at: http://letterboxd.com/Phallixander/.

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1 Response

  1. December 10, 2015

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