A decade ago, listening music was usually done by owning the audio files, either by downloading or purchasing the CDs, or via a local radio station. However, today, there are now various online radio stations and music streaming services available. Most of these online music services require the users to subscribe. Hence, as the effect, using multiple online music services can be troublesome and impractical. People often wonder about which online music service that they should choose.
In the following article, we are going to see the comparisons between Last.fm and Spotify. These two are among the most popular online music services available on the market. Last.fm and Spotify are similar that they both provide free and premium services. However, that’s pretty much the similarity, because Last.fm and Spotify are actually very different from each other. Below, we are going to see the comparisons between Last.fm and Spotify, as well as the best ways to use them!
Last.fm is actually more of a music website. It was founded in the United Kingdom in 2002. The highlighted feature of Last.fm is the Audioscrobbler, which allows Last.fm to build a detailed profile about a user’s musical taste by tracking and recording the details of the tracks that the user listens to, which can be from Internet radio stations and music services as well as from the user’s own devices. These details are ‘scrobbled’ (transferred) to Last.fm’s database. The data are displayed on the user’s profile page and are used to make reference pages for individual artists. Initially, Last.fm also had a radio streaming service with an immensely huge collection, which has mostly indie artists. Unfortunately, the radio streaming service was discontinued in 2014 and now the ability to access the huge catalog of music has been removed entirely. Now, the catalogs are replaced with YouTube and Spotify links where available, and Last.fm plays the songs from these sources.
On the other hand, Spotify is a music, video, and podcast streaming service developed by a startup company, Spotify AB, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden. It was officially launched in 2008. Even though many of the music tracks circulating around the Internet were considered illegal, Spotify is different because it provides official digitally protected content from record labels and media companies to the user, meaning that the content it provides is legal. Unlike physical and download sales, Spotify pays royalties to the artists according to the number of the artists’ streams in proportion with the total streams on the service. Spotify is now available in most of European and American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and some Asian countries. Its client apps are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. (Have a look : Spotify vs Beats Music)
Last.fm vs. Spotify: User Interface
The first difference that we can point out from the overview above is the user interface. Last.fm is mostly a web-based service. In order to use its service, you need to access its website using a web browser. This is very simple and convenient, especially if you hate the idea of cluttering your desktop with more apps. However, a web-based interface sometimes lags if the Internet connection is not stable. In addition, it requires you to be online all the time in order to use the service.
On the other hand, Spotify requires you to install a standalone client app on your device. This can be an issue, especially on a mobile phone with limited storage and processing power. However, if you are fine with installing a client app, Spotify will give you a smoother overall experience. In addition, the user interface is very neat and intuitive. The songs and features are arranged in menu-based lists.
Last.fm vs. Spotify: The Free and Premium Versions
Both Last.fm and Spotify are available in free and premium versions. The free version of Last.fm will give you the ability to play songs and see basic stats. Of course, it has some ads. Meanwhile, the paid subscription will give you ad-free browsing, exclusive early access to new features, additional stats, merchandise discounts, and a VIP status symbol. Compared to Spotify, Last.fm’s subscription is cheaper.
On the other hand, the free version of Spotify allows you to listen to songs, but only in random and with ads. You cannot skip a song. That can be utterly annoying. The paid version, however, removes all the limitations. It removes the ads and allows you to play any song you want, skip songs, and download your favorite songs for offline listening.
Last.fm vs. Spotify: Song Collection
Last.fm used to have its own music collection, but now it doesn’t. It is mostly a service that collects music information and builds playlists for you based on your favorite genres. It has links to YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes where available.
On the other hand, Spotify has its own music collection from both indie and renowned artists. So far, it has already amassed more than 30 million songs in its collection.
Last.fm vs. Spotify: Integration
As a matter of fact, if you choose to use both Last.fm and Spotify, you can make Last.fm scrobbles data from Spotify, which supports the feature. However, you will have to turn the option on in the settings. This way, you will be able to still get song recommendations and discover new music based on your preference from Last.fm even though you are using Spotify to listen to music. This is actually the best way to use both Last.fm and Spotify.
|- Web-based interface||- Client apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS|
|- No longer has its own music collection; uses YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes instead||- Has its own music collection with more than 30 million songs|
|- Used mainly for the Audioscrobbler feature for music recommendations and playlists||- An online music service|
As the conclusion, Last.fm is no longer a real online radio. It is more of a service to track your musical taste, and you can use it to get new song recommendations. It plays music from YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes. It has a web-based interface. On the other hand, Spotify is a music streaming service with more than 30 million songs available. It has dedicated client apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Even though the free version only lets your play random music, the premium version is great, allowing you to play any song and even download them for offline listening. In general, you should choose Spotify first before enhancing the experience with Last.fm.