When software designer Matt Biddulph (incidentally, one of the people behind the new online BBC programme catalogue prototype), worked at the BBC, he had access to experimental data feeds generated by 6music radio station’s digital broadcast studio systems. For fun, hooked those feeds up to Last.fm.
Last.fm uses music profiles (like mine) to make personalized recommendations and generate charts from the collected data. Anyone can sign up and start groups, in a similar way to ‘Flickr’ or ‘YouTube’, but instead of photos, or videos, Last.fm revolves around the music you listen to. By adding a plug in to your player (iTunes, WinAmp, etc.), the system collects data from every track you play.
To put it simply, what Matt did was add a profile (by the name of ‘sekrit’) to Last.fm, but instead of adding a real person, he hooked up the radio 6fm playlist.
Matt’s left the BBC, but a year later, ‘sekrit’ had accumulated a record of more than 50,000 tracks played on BBC 6Music.
So guess which band was played the most? You guessed right. U2, although they share the top spot with Interpol.
At least four of U2log.com’s staff have profiles on Last.fm. It’s fun to be able to keep track of what you listen to, and to watch patterns emerge from your stats.
There’s a u2log group there too. If we can get 15 members together, Last.fm will start creating charts for our group. Join up and we can soon find out which U2 songs get played the most, and which other bands we listen to.