Making every play count

How to scrobble everything to your Last.fm profile with Scrobblr for Android and iOS

This month an experimental third-party app has come our way that’s really piqued my interest. It’s called Scrobblr, and it uses the microphone on your android / ios device along with the Gracenote API to identify music and scrobble it to your Last.fm profile.  

Scrobblr

Scrobblr potentially allows you to scrobble everything to your Last.fm profile — broadcast radio; MTV; your car stereo; music playing on your games console; CD, Vinyl, and Cassette; as well as music services that don’t scrobble natively such as Soundcloud, Youtube, Google Play, and Xbox Music.  Imagine if an app like Shazam or Soundhound could scrobble to your profile, that’s essentially what Scrobblr does — if you can hear it, you can scrobble it.  The developers even claim (though we’ve had mixed results ourselves at Last.hq) that you can scrobble music heard out and about at pubs and clubs.

To give you an example, one of the more frequent criticisms / feature requests we’ve had regarding the Last.fm Xbox app is that it doesn’t scrobble music in the background whilst playing games — using this app you can do just that by simply placing your phone near to your speakers.  My favourite use of this is to scrobble the radio stations on Grand Theft Auto V. Even against the chaotic background of police sirens wailing, cars exploding, gunshots rattling, frightened pedestrians screaming, and Trevor Phillips yelling obscenities at the police; Scrobblr can carefully pick out Britney Spears – Gimmie More on Non-Stop Pop FM and log it on my Last.fm profile.  Much to my shame.

Another example, I often listen to Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour via the iplayer app on my phone.  As the show is pre-recorded, it doesn’t scrobble to BBC Radio 6 Music’s own Last.fm account.  In the past, if I’d wanted to scrobble the tracks from this show, I’d have to manually scrobble each track by hand using the Universal Scrobbler.  With Scrobblr, I can stream the show through iplayer and simultaneously scrobble it directly to my account.  It’s pretty awesome.

The app is still in its early stages of development and it’s not without issues — matching isn’t always perfect, and like I said, our “field tests” in local pubs and clubs have so far been a bit hit and miss.  Even so, I’m very excited in its potential and I’d be interested to know what you think, especially if you listen to music on platforms that are difficult to scrobble (like broadcast radio, vinyl, and cd). I’d also be curious to hear more obscure ways to scrobble music using the app. :)

You can download Scrobblr for free here:

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.scrobblr
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scrobblr/id698063218
Developer’s website: http://www.scrobblr.net/

Music

I don’t believe in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ music, as such;  assuming an artist or performer is competent at what they do.  I’m not a musician, so I don’t feel qualified to judge.  There is simply music I like, and music I don’t like.  And it’s not a fixed constant – what I like today, I might not like tomorrow.

When it comes to artistry, I think there’s a place in the world for both art and entertainment.  I see popular music as as a doorway to discovering even more music — a foothold, if you like, to higher ground.  I don’t begrudge the entertainers of the world, because the best ones are damn good at what they do — they encourage us to dance, sing, and feel grateful for being alive.  However, I’m wary of those who try to pass superficial entertainment off as something deeper than it actually is.  Nevertheless, I think the best artists somehow manage to find a happy middle ground between art and entertainment (or accessibility), without compromising their integrity.

When it comes to personal tastes, I prefer to characterise music taste in terms of breadth and depth.  There’s music you know well, and music you’ve yet to discover.  Patterns you understand, patterns that are currently beyond your comprehension.

We  are really lucky to live in an age where technology can let people discover and explore music.   Let’s not throw that away.