Welcome to our Playground

Tuesday, 13 May 2008
by elias
filed under Announcements
Comments: 61

We’re finally launching playground.last.fm!

One of the best things I discovered after joining Last.fm was the playground – a hidden website where my colleagues showcased their weekend projects. The projects ranged from computing interesting stats or alternative recommendations to complex visualizations. However, many of the projects never made it onto the main site. Sometimes it was not clear where the project would fit, and sometimes it would have required some additional work to make it scalable or compatible with different browsers.

Anyway, to cut a long story short: we’ve finally decided to launch a public version of our playground site. We’re starting with 3 demonstrations which Klaas put together for us: multi tag search, artist name variations, and a weekly chart of the most frequent top 10 tracks.

All these demonstrations currently have an expiry date that will depend on the feedback we get. You can send us an email (however, we can’t promise to reply to every email) or discuss your views with others in the forums.

By the way, the image we use on playground was taken on the Last.fm roof top with balls from our ballpit (our design team sits right next to the ballpit, so that might have been a source of inspiration). Special thanks to Afonso, Marcela, Seb (who can be seen in the image), and Eva for battling the wind on our roof!

Multi Tag Search

This one is my personal favourite of the current demonstrations. It enables searching tracks and artists by one or more tags. The results can be sorted/filtered by popularity, free downloads, or up-and-coming. Here are some examples:

It’s also interesting to compare different lists to each other. For example, to see how “alternative” changed over time: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s.

Artist Name Variations

This demonstration gives some insight into the data we’ve been gathering from our fingerprinting efforts. Any questions regarding that data can be answered by Erik, who has a brief interjection below. The demo shows common name variations we find in ID3 tags. For example, here are some of the common variations for Guns N’ Roses.

Speaking of Artist Names…

The metadata project is only just getting underway, but we’ve already collected half a million votes. This has proven super-valuable to highlight cases where our data is incorrect (such as EastWest Rockers), where no one seems to agree (is it AN CAFE, ANTIC CAFE, Antique Cafe, or the original Japanese アンティック-珈琲店-), and even a few Zen koans (how DO you spell Original Cast ?). Stay tuned for more, as this is just the first step!

Most Frequent Top 10 Tracks

This demonstration is basically a weekly chart of popular tracks. We’ve been following the chart for some time now, and it’s very different from the official weekly chart. For example, Radiohead tracks do not show up as often.

This most frequent top 10 chart is computed by counting how often a track occurs in a scrobblers top 10 tracks every week.