Mix Radio: a new radio station

Friday, 29 October 2010
by Mark Levy
filed under Announcements
Comments: 74

If you listen to Last.fm radio through the Last.fm desktop client or on an Android phone then you may have noticed that we have just launched a new station: Mix Radio. Mix Radio is inspired by the idea that the best music discoveries can sometimes be made close to home.

While the pure science of music recommendation puts a heavy emphasis on novelty, Last.fm’s incomparable store of data about real listening preferences – as well as our own experience as music lovers – convinced us that it would be interesting to try a different approach. We noticed that listening to all-new music can be a bit heavy going. Similarly, just listening to your old favourites sometimes isn’t what you want either! A few shakes of the test tube in Last.fm’s radio and recommendations laboratory (known internally as the MIR or Music Information Retrieval team), and Mix Radio was born – a station that’s exactly that: a mix of the music you already know + some new recommendations!

The tracks you’ll hear on Mix Radio have been selected in three different ways: some are brand new recommended tracks; others are tracks that you haven’t scrobbled before, but by artists that you know already; and the rest are simply tracks that you know already. We think that the combination makes a really enjoyable new way to explore Last.fm’s recommendations, based as ever on your scrobbles, tags, loves and so on, in the context of more familiar music. Please let us know what you think – we want your feedback as we add Mix Radio to the website and the other Last.fm apps in the near future.

Last but not least, if you’re interested in building the next generation of Last.fm radio and recommendation services, we’re hiring!

Comments

  1. Manuel Matheu
    29 October, 12:22

    Awesome new feature! It would be great if we could select which genres listen or not when listening to my collection. For example, in a party situation I would love to hear only “electronic” music from my collection, and not “post-rock” or “hardcore”… I don’t know, it’s a little suggestion..
    Greetings from Argentina!

    Manuel Matheu – 29 October, 12:22
  2. Mobman02
    29 October, 12:24

    I have the Lastfm scrobbler 1.5.1 (via the apt repository http://apt.last.fm/, on Ubuntu 9.10) and I don’t see the new radio.

    I’m sad.

    Do you hire french webdevelopper anyway ? :D

    Mobman02 – 29 October, 12:24
  3. Matt King
    29 October, 12:50

    Perfect. I also had this issue where I would skip through the constant stream of brand-new tracks – probably some sort of new tune fatigue.

    Looking forward to the iPhone app update.

    Matt King – 29 October, 12:50
  4. Molly
    29 October, 13:17

    I agree, perfect. I really want this on the website so that I can listen at work.

    Molly – 29 October, 13:17
  5. lizvelrene
    29 October, 14:09

    WHY is there an announcement about the new radio, but NOTHING about all the radio stations that are being removed?

    No more loved tracks radio!
    No more personal tag radio!
    No more playlists!

    You have to look for the thread buried on the forum to even hear about this:
    http://www.last.fm/forum/21717/_/653360/1

    A lot of people would have no idea this was coming if other users hadn’t messaged them about it.

    Why have a blog announcement about this shoddy replacement for the core services of last.fm, if you’re not going to announce how you’re screwing the subscribers over?

    lizvelrene – 29 October, 14:09
  6. Tecfan
    29 October, 14:56

    @lizvelrene: also in the client update is a message about the discontinuing of the older stations.

    Tecfan – 29 October, 14:56
  7. Alex Mandarino
    29 October, 15:11

    This is really, really great. I created personal tags exactly to achieve just that: add new artists and new tunes from “old” artists to my library. With Mix Radio I can achieve this easier, without the constant tagging and personal maintenance, since the station already introduces new artists and new tracks.

    With 11,000 artists in my Library, Mix Radio will have plenty of work choosing what to play. :)

    Alex Mandarino – 29 October, 15:11
  8. Sam Stress
    29 October, 15:17

    OMG this is perfect. What a great idea. You nailed it on this one, I wasn’t even really aware of this until I read this blog entry but I was constently switching between recommendations and my own radio library. Perfect, perfect, perfect!

    Sam Stress – 29 October, 15:17
  9. headey
    29 October, 15:46

    It is a nice idea.
    I hit two problems though.
    The tracks it played from my own library are ones I’m quite familiar with -either because I’ve heard them recently or heard them LOTS of times already(numbers from a sample listen are on a post on the main site)
    And, once I’ve heard a new track I like -I’m dubious that am I likely to ever hear it again.
    I’ve got loads of tracks at the bottom of my library that I’d like to hear again but there seems to be no mechanism to bring them to the surface, which makes me sad.
    Unless I can hear a good spread of tracks from an artist I’m not likely to buy a CD or go to a concert.

    headey – 29 October, 15:46
  10. mybackpages
    29 October, 21:12

    Though I would never use this, I think it sounds like a good idea. Nice to know audioscrobbler isn’t dead, rumors to the contrary. You can’t make everyone happy, and to hell with all those who’ve been tagging and whatnot.

    mybackpages – 29 October, 21:12
  11. Don Reba
    29 October, 21:19

    I don’t believe it… Could it be that Last.fm will have music recommendations that work? I have to try this.

    Don Reba – 29 October, 21:19
  12. lostmyhippo
    29 October, 21:42

    Excellent idea. I thoroughly approve

    lostmyhippo – 29 October, 21:42
  13. thisisgordon
    29 October, 22:47

    new client without multiartist/-tag :(

    thisisgordon – 29 October, 22:47
  14. Carlana
    30 October, 00:55

    So, it’s like a mix of ‘my radio station’ and ‘my recommendations’? Um..ok, why not. But I don’t see what’s so fantastic with this new idea :).

    Btw, I’ve always wanted a ‘my friends’ station (so I could play a mix of all my friends radio stations, not only one by one) instead of the ‘my neighbours’ station.
    There are of course a few of my friends in my ‘neighbours’ list but usually also loads of people with no profile pic (not that it matter that much but anyway) and 54 plays or so…plus people that I don’t see much compatibility with..

    Carlana – 30 October, 00:55
  15. lista on line
    30 October, 00:56

    will be great to hear it at work to provide a relaxed.

    lista on line – 30 October, 00:56
  16. Christian Alexander Tietgen
    30 October, 03:40

    Great! That’s what I had always missed. It was hard to discover new songs by your favourite artists before, but now it is so easy. You also don’t have to add all songs you like manually anymore, they are played automatically. The mix radio is a real improvement.

    Christian Alexander Tietgen – 30 October, 03:40
  17. Steve Johnson
    30 October, 04:00

    GENIUS idea

    Steve Johnson – 30 October, 04:00
  18. artoix
    30 October, 09:43

    I’ve just updated my client and I already love this new feature! That was a little bit cumbersome sometimes to decide ‘what I’d rather listen now – my liked old tracks or new ones’. Now it all in one! Great feature and thanks indeed guys for your work!

    artoix – 30 October, 09:43
  19. Babs
    30 October, 09:57

    I like it. An enhancement I’d like to see is one someone else suggested in forums which is: it would be nice to see where tracks came from, recommendations, loved or where?

    In practice, when you listen, you do get curious when something grabs your attention and you go to find out more. Some text like “from your recommendations” and a link back would be brilliant if it’s possible.

    Also, Mix Radio in Discovery Mode = superb.

    Babs – 30 October, 09:57
  20. zazi
    30 October, 10:02

    Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about all the time. People are not fully interested in discovering every time things*. They are often happier, when they rediscover known things (of their own music library), because they are familiar with them.
    Cool feature!

    *) Although, I guess the percentage between discovering and rediscovering varies between each user

    zazi – 30 October, 10:02
  21. zazi
    30 October, 10:10

    “it would be nice to see where tracks came from, recommendations, loved or where?”

    @Babs: I guess exploratory recommendations are the next step for Last.fm. Pandora can do it in a certain kind (musical features etc.) and there are also other prototypes available (http://dbrec.net/) that can handle this issue. However, the next step is also to personalize this feature. That means, someone is interested in this background information and another one would just simple listen to the music, without wanting to know where it came from.

    ;)

    zazi – 30 October, 10:10
  22. Pavieł
    30 October, 10:34

    Great idea. Way to go!

    Pavieł – 30 October, 10:34
  23. mikowhy
    30 October, 13:06

    nice

    mikowhy – 30 October, 13:06
  24. Diana
    30 October, 13:44

    “Mix Radio in Discovery Mode = superb.”

    @Babs: Discovery Mode is back!? That subscriber news is worth a whole separate post by staff.

    Diana – 30 October, 13:44
  25. Melissa
    31 October, 02:20

    Hi there :-) I really enjoy last.fm and I’d love to leave this somewhere more relevant but Last.fm’s customer support (or should I say lack of) has made that impossible.

    Many of your users are frustrated with the lack of a username selection. Some of your names haven’t been used since 2002, 2003, and 2004 if they’re ever been used before. Just so we’re all current it is now 2010, that’s 8 years in some cases. We would like for you to consider deleting some of these names so your ACTIVE users could make them and just be overall happier with your service.

    Melissa – 31 October, 02:20
  26. gurdonark
    31 October, 05:29

    This sounds like an interesting feature. If it works to blend successfully the old and the new, it will be a good addition.

    gurdonark – 31 October, 05:29
  27. Risingson
    31 October, 11:49

    Indeed, this is the way i’m used to listen to music on my iTunes. Shuffle new and old music together. This way is really more easier to listen something new among familiar sounds. Great news!

    Risingson – 31 October, 11:49
  28. hans-jürgen
    31 October, 11:58

    By the way, your Mix radio as well as those from other users are already available in the webplayer, for the people who cannot use the client at work etc. See my posting in the Feedback forum.

    This would also show you how often you have already heard this track, if it’s a loved track or if it’s the first time that you are hearing it without the necessity to open a new track page in the browser from the client.

    You can find a complete list of your Recent Radios in the client history or here if you want to listen to a Mix radio from another user again.

    hans-jürgen – 31 October, 11:58
  29. grecian2007
    31 October, 12:33

    lizvelrene said:
    29 October, 14:09 WHY is there an announcement about the new radio, but NOTHING about all the radio stations that are being removed?

    No more loved tracks radio!
    No more personal tag radio!
    No more playlists!

    You have to look for the thread buried on the forum to even hear about this:
    http://www.last.fm/forum/21717/_/653360/1

    A lot of people would have no idea this was coming if other users hadn’t messaged them about it.

    Why have a blog announcement about this shoddy replacement for the core services of last.fm, if you’re not going to announce how you’re screwing the subscribers over?

    I agree with every word lizvelrene says

    grecian2007 (subscriber)

    grecian2007 – 31 October, 12:33
  30. Scarred
    31 October, 14:01

    To be honest, I haven’t been paying any attention to the last.fm radio features, but I saw this last night and for some reason decided I’d give a try. So far, I’m really liking it. Nice work.

    Scarred – 31 October, 14:01
  31. fone421
    31 October, 19:35

    thanks for ruining lastfm for me. it was real smart to get rid of the music that people choose and replace it with random tracks that the listener doesn’t want to hear. I decide what i like to listen to. not your shitty software. is there any way to get a pro rated refund because i will no longer listen to lastfm. i am going to purchase pandora, and listen to the music that i want to hear. that is what i paid for.

    fone421 – 31 October, 19:35
  32. HodgeStar
    31 October, 20:23

    Can you also do that with global tags instead of a user library in the center? Could be intersting for small ‘not enough content’ tags.

    …seeded fuzzy tag radio so to speak.

    btw, i don’t think that ‘Your Mix Radio’ is a good name. It’s not my mix it’s you mixing in ;)

    HodgeStar – 31 October, 20:23
  33. starenka
    31 October, 21:47

    I stronlgy disagree w/ this whole “radio not available in your region”. I’m using last.fm since 2006 and I’m SUBSCRIBER. I want to play radios and tracks on my Android like I can play those on my computer.

    starenka – 31 October, 21:47
  34. Marsup
    1 November, 10:46

    This seemed like a good idea at 1st but having various tastes doesn’t help at all. It just feels like songs keep coming without any consistency. I think I’m just going to stick with classical radios.

    Marsup – 1 November, 10:46
  35. Tony
    1 November, 16:19

    Gota say am really impressed with it. Often get sick of listening to just my library. So far it’s has introduced to me to a bunch of new tracks that I actually like. More features like this please!!

    Tony – 1 November, 16:19
  36. Max
    2 November, 09:32

    Nice work, keep it up (:

    Max – 2 November, 09:32
  37. gill_za
    2 November, 14:42

    I just canceled my subscription because LAST.FM is canceling the only that are worth subscribing for.

    No more playlists streaming
    No more loved songs streaming
    No more personal tags.

    gill_za – 2 November, 14:42
  38. Cees
    2 November, 15:48

    Here in the Netherlands, it appears that i can play playlists via the Library tab on the website, and i played a fine Halloween tag mix on Halloween, even if i did have to skip or ban some i hadn’t tagged.

    As for loved track radio, mine’s still here: http://www.last.fm/user/c4t2007/library/loved

    On the Website tab of your settings (via the arrow next to your icon on the website), you can set it to use the desktop client instead of the Flash player.

    Cees – 2 November, 15:48
  39. Cees
    2 November, 16:01

    Ah, they’re axing those radios on the 17th because that amount of user control is too expensive due to licensing.

    I guess user radios will have to suffice.

    Cees – 2 November, 16:01
  40. instantjesus
    2 November, 16:33

    big up for mix radio, it’s just great!

    instantjesus – 2 November, 16:33
  41. Hannah Donovan
    2 November, 17:07

    Just a quick update to let you know we’ve updated the iPhone app with Mix Radio now too.

    Thanks for all the feedback, we’re definitely listening and committed to mixing up more radio concoctions in the labs!

    Hannah Donovan – 2 November, 17:07
  42. Zucni
    3 November, 18:41

    Great new station. Will it get added to the Last.fm web radio player soon too?

    Zucni – 3 November, 18:41
  43. rglovesu2
    3 November, 21:17

    Awesome idea! Thank you so much, hans-jürgen, for letting us know how to get to the mix this way – it was just what I was trying to figure out when I read your entry. :-)

    rglovesu2 – 3 November, 21:17
  44. Daniel
    4 November, 00:18

    The ‘My Mix’ (terrible name) radio works great. Better than listening to only my music and better than listening to only my recommendations.

    I’m going to miss the old stations though (particularly loved tracks).

    I often worry that I’m watching the slow decline of Last.fm.

    Daniel – 4 November, 00:18
  45. Leonard
    4 November, 14:05

    Confirming mobman02’s comment: This new station does not exist in the Linux client (Ubuntu 10.04, Last.fm 1.5.4.26862). Also, the “eliminated” stations still exist in the Linux client.

    Come on programmers, putting out a partial release is just laziness. I realize Windows has the biggest user base so you need to push that version out first, but that’s not an excuse to neglect users of other operating systems. Please post a .DEB update package for your Linux client on the download page ASAP!

    Leonard – 4 November, 14:05
  46. Aaron
    4 November, 20:21

    I agree with Leonard. I would like 1.7.0 on Ubuntu.

    Aaron – 4 November, 20:21
  47. tante
    5 November, 12:56

    The new station works with the linux client even though it’s not visible.

    Open a terminal and run:
    “lastfm lastfm://user/YOUR_USERNAME/mix” and the station starts. Now you have it in your “History” and can access it that way conveniently.

    tante – 5 November, 12:56
  48. prosiaczekk
    6 November, 14:44

    Well I just love it! I thought that you wouldn’t be able to make up to me for losing my loved tracks station, but you did! It is just awesome! Keep it going, guys! :)

    prosiaczekk – 6 November, 14:44
  49. Andy
    7 November, 21:35

    The mix station is great, but right now it seems not to be working on the android client or shell-fm. Other stations are ok, but the mix station is down? Removed?

    Andy – 7 November, 21:35
  50. MowDownJoe
    8 November, 02:57

    Yeah, I’m wondering why Mix stopped working for me, too. Please tell me you didn’t just move this to a subscriber bonus after I abused the hell out of it for 2 weeks.

    MowDownJoe – 8 November, 02:57
  51. SPni
    8 November, 09:38

    Yeah. It’s not working for me either. It was brilliant.

    SPni – 8 November, 09:38
  52. Alex
    8 November, 10:07

    Nooo, bring it back! It was by far my favorite radio station! /cry

    Alex – 8 November, 10:07
  53. Mark Levy
    8 November, 11:55

    Apologies for the technical hiccup, Mix Radio is working again now.

    Mark Levy – 8 November, 11:55
  54. Alex
    8 November, 21:09

    Awesome. Thanks Mark. :)

    Alex – 8 November, 21:09
  55. Andy
    9 November, 03:08

    Ah, thank you!

    Andy – 9 November, 03:08
  56. dirty_clean
    9 November, 14:50

    Why is Android app avaliable everywhere whil iPhone app is only for the chosen few in the UK, US and Germany?

    Does not sound fair to me at all.

    What is the logic?

    dirty_clean (subscriber)

    dirty_clean – 9 November, 14:50
  57. hannez
    9 November, 17:00

    Cees said:
    2 November, 16:01

    Ah, they’re axing those radios on the 17th because that amount of user control is too expensive due to licensing.

    I guess user radios will have to suffice.

    I agree.

    hannez – 9 November, 17:00
  58. von
    10 November, 21:15

    Good concept. Why isn’t it available from the radio page? http://www.last.fm/listen
    Cheers,
    Von.

    von – 10 November, 21:15
  59. telecine
    11 November, 09:13

    this is more like the pandora model. In practice it works very well for me… keeps my tunes fresh…so keep up the good work!

    telecine – 11 November, 09:13
  60. Dan
    11 November, 17:29

    Lovin new station. You’re right, all new stuff can be hard work. I can listen to this for hours, brilliant.

    Dan – 11 November, 17:29
  61. Haakon
    13 November, 14:33

    This is brilliant!
    You’re absolutely right that listening to all new tunes or all old tunes could be less interesting over time… :)

    Go The MIX!

    Haakon – 13 November, 14:33
  62. bentl3y
    13 November, 20:35

    This is excellent! I really couldn’t do the previous incarnations of being forced to listen to all new music or all old music.
    Thanks so much for adding it to the iPhone.

    I can’t wait for this station to be added to the XBOX 360. Show us some more xbox love :)

    bentl3y – 13 November, 20:35
  63. Sanskar
    14 November, 22:07

    I’m using it now…I love it!

    Sanskar – 14 November, 22:07
  64. Dinis Correia
    15 November, 12:46

    Hmm not available on the Mac version, is it?

    Dinis Correia – 15 November, 12:46
  65. Teisines paslaugos
    16 November, 13:20

    Do you hire french webdevelopper anyway ? :D

    Teisines paslaugos – 16 November, 13:20
  66. craPkit
    19 November, 14:33

    Best station so far.
    Simply great.

    craPkit – 19 November, 14:33
  67. everyman
    21 November, 23:37

    A perfect extension to the feature would be ability to define the proportions of the mix at the user profile level.
    Say, I’d like to hear the new songs of the artists I already know much more often than the rest of the music. So, I’d enter my profile and set a percentage: Non-scrobbled tracks the known artists/Completely new/Scrobbled tracks as ,say, 80/10/10.
    Having something like that would be fantastically nice.

    everyman – 21 November, 23:37
  68. Mix Radio is insignificant
    23 November, 06:19

    I don’t care about Mix Radio. This Mix Radio is insignificant and without interest. Anyway, the new last.fm is pitiful. Then may I have to pay or not for pitiful service?…

    Mix Radio is insignificant – 23 November, 06:19
  69. bgod
    24 November, 22:39

    Brilliant idea! great mix!

    bgod – 24 November, 22:39
  70. Igor
    25 November, 12:27

    Since the Loved tracks radio is no longer available I decided to give this one a try and I must say its brilliant!! 20 track so far, 4-5 were unknown to me but right according to my taste, 1 was crap and the rest were songs that i love listening to!!

    Amazing job guys!

    Igor – 25 November, 12:27
  71. Qrobur
    27 November, 19:23

    Mix radio might be quite a good idea. I ‘might’ because the servers are temporarily overloaded.

    That’s ‘temporarily’ in the sense of ‘more often than not’.

    Qrobur – 27 November, 19:23
  72. Jelle
    1 December, 14:08

    I love this new mix radio, thanks.
    I have a suggestion, though, which counts for library and recommendation radio as well, by the way.

    It would be great to at least have the option to have played songs grouped by genre (based on tags, of course). Although I love classical music as much as I love minimal techno or French chanson, hearing these three genres in three succeeding songs can be a bit unsettling. I’d prefer to hear a couple of songs of one genre (say, five?), followed by a few of another genre (preferrably not too distant from the one it follows).

    Make sense?
    Thanks for reading.

    Jelle – 1 December, 14:08
  73. Aqualon
    1 December, 23:27

    I’d love to see something like Jelle suggested in the previous post. I have also the problem, that I have a diverse musical taste, so listening to my library is mostly a strange combination of styles.

    Aqualon – 1 December, 23:27
  74. Ashmonkeyuk
    8 December, 11:55

    I am only just listening to the Mix Radio station for the first time here on Last.fm. I must admit that I always believed this was exactly what My Recommendations had the intention of doing. Is it that the design of the scrobbler and its increased usage has meant that people are being taken further away from music that they actually enjoy? If so, there are ways to avoid this with a few changes to the design of Last.fm. I appreciate that music is being found further and further afield and that the universe of sound is ever expanding but I think you will find that this new station will also deteriorate through time and usage as did the previous one and then what… My Mix Station 2, 3. Although this design flaw is not likely to manipulate itself faster than the previous one, it will nonetheless deteriorate. There are other designs already in use out there which approach this problem in a more logical way but as not to spam, I care not mention them upon your site but hope that you value this criticism. I am a great user of last.fm as you will find if you look at your statistics. I am a video producer and sound artist and I think that if you look at how I use last.fm, you will appreciate that I am hoping to achieve exactly what you are from using your site. Best.

    Ashmonkeyuk – 8 December, 11:55

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