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Audioscrobbling, circa 2004

Revisiting the birth of Scrobbling

I had fun over the Fourth of July rummaging around the Internet Wayback and looking at old images of audioscrobber.net, Richard Jones’ early version of Scrobbling as he was joining forces with Last.fm. Here is screenshot circa November 2004.

Audioscrobbling, circa 2004

Audioscrobbling, circa 2004

Jones was a third year student at the University of Southampton at the time he cooked this up. Apparently he was living in a tent on a friend’s balcony in London, getting up at 5:30 am (what else could he do?) most mornings and coding the system. I always thought that the term “scrobbling” was a bit of a brilliant misnomer. Basically it meant adding plugins to your media player software that allowed a central database to keep track of your music preferences and recommend like minded users and songs for you. A duo of German and Austrian music geeks read about Jones’ innovation and got him connected to their ersatz indie label/Internet radio website, Last.fm. Suddenly Jones’ database system was joined with actual listenable content, and a star was born.

Early Autoscrobbler.net had real integrity and transparency. The site advised users that their data would be used by others, but only for non-commercial purposes.

“Any time you feel like it, you can come to the website and check out your profile, perhaps try some of the suggested songs,” the Help page explained, “see the suggestions from other similar people and generally marvel at what appalling music taste many people have compared to you.”

It is interesting to review what the big scrobble hits were back then. The top five: Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ ‘Volcano,’ by Damien Rice, Muses’ ‘Sunburn,’ Queen’s ‘Killer Queen,’ and Blink 182’s ‘Always’. Ah, those were the days (actually, they’re still sort of here, so let’s not get too nostalgic. . . . ).

In other news, Soundrop has an interesting new service which the company unveiled just before our patriotic holidays. It is called show.co and appears to be a tightly constructed suite of applications for running music campaigns. Show.co manages all the social networking, YouTube and Soundcloud stuff, links to pay download sites, and web/mobile visuals for your group’s latest output. It also appears to be affordable. You can run a single campaign for $19 to $25 a month.

I have not tried this application out, but I appreciate Soundrop’s chat room software for Spotify and Deezer, which make both applications much more social. Based on the quality of that work, I’ll bet that Show.co is worth a try. There’s a free two week trial.

Not a lot else happened this week, InternetDJ-wise. But I now have, without any effort on my part, acquired 113 followers on TuneIn. The problem is that I still don’t know how to communicate with them within TuneIn’s application universe. Any suggestions?

We cover social music sharing communities  every Monday in our Internet DJ feature.


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