Last.fm: now supporting tea breaks

Wednesday, 13 April 2011
by Dan Etherington
filed under Announcements and Code
Comments: 57

Hey, look! It’s a pause button! I know right?!

Pause is a feature that users and staff alike have been requesting for quite some time, so one dreary Thursday evening I decided ‘Enough is enough! We NEED pause and we need it now!’

That’s almost true anyway. It’s been a big challenge to implement, and we’ve spent a little while testing this feature — writing some supporting infrastructure and making sure the feature works well across our different players.

That’s right, the Android and iPhone client also now come with pause too. We’re working on a new version of the desktop client now, and that will come with pause too.

I’ve been getting a ton of use out of it and I hope you guys do too! The specs are now available for partner players (like XBox and Windows Phone 7) to support the feature, and we’ll be updating the FAQ as and when they’ve implemented it.

Drum Roll – It’s time for the main feature!

But… but but but, we’re also releasing something new and exciting into the wild today.

Whenever you tune into a radio station on Last.fm we build a playlist of tracks based on various criteria: for Recommended Radio we’re looking at music that you might like based on what you’ve been listening to recently; for Friends Radio we’re looking at what your friends have listened to recently… and so on and so forth.

Up until now we haven’t surfaced why a particular song is being played to you, but that’s about to change with a little feature that puts some info text in the top left of the player.

When you’re listening to Similar Artist Radio or your Library Radio we’ll show you some information about the track being played (the song selection is kinda obvious — it’s in your library, or it’s similar to the artist you typed in).

Things start to get a little more interesting when you’re tuned to Friends, Neighbours, Recommended or Mix radio. You’ll see information about which artists or users fed into the song selection. If you click the “more” link you’ll scroll down to where there’s a little more detailed information; maybe it’s a few of your friends or a few artists that inspired the selection.

(By the way, if you’re using the Festive cheer or Bah! Humbug! radio settings then you’ll get a reduced amount of information. If you want to experience the magic you’ll have to turn them off for now, sorry!)

Hope you enjoy them! Remember, you can always offer feedback about features like these on the forums, and if you want to join the team who made them just head to the Jobs page.

Comments

  1. jens
    13 April, 11:34

    Yay!

    jens – 13 April, 11:34
  2. maicon
    13 April, 11:38

    até que enfim implantaram o botão de pausa.
    agora só falta habilitarem a rádio de graça do Brasil.

    maicon – 13 April, 11:38
  3. zazi
    13 April, 12:02

    Thanks a lot for enabling explanatory recommendations. I think they are a key feature to avoid that users are wondering all the time why which track is currently played in a radio station. Last.fm ruls, because it owns the long tail!

    zazi – 13 April, 12:02
  4. Podex
    13 April, 12:03

    Pff this has brought back some confidence in last.fm. Great job! I might even subscribe again.

    Podex – 13 April, 12:03
  5. Mike
    13 April, 12:05

    Thanks for this feature.

    Roughly when will the new desktop client be available?

    Mike – 13 April, 12:05
  6. coxy
    13 April, 12:11

    Awesome. Next stop, on demand music?

    coxy – 13 April, 12:11
  7. Marc
    13 April, 12:12

    YES! Thank you! I hate when I get a call while listening to one of my favorite songs and having to stop the stream. Now I dont have to!

    Marc – 13 April, 12:12
  8. Laura
    13 April, 12:20

    Excited for these new features…awesome!

    Laura – 13 April, 12:20
  9. Nicky
    13 April, 12:31

    Nice work Dan. Well done to you & everyone :)

    Nicky – 13 April, 12:31
  10. rasmusfm
    13 April, 12:35

    Great! Really need this when listening at work. And awesome with the track info. Keep the cool features coming.

    rasmusfm – 13 April, 12:35
  11. Cat
    13 April, 12:47

    These features are great news … but I’m with Mike – when can we expect to see these for the desktop version?

    Cat – 13 April, 12:47
  12. Jon Smirl
    13 April, 12:58

    Can you fix randomization when streaming from your library next? I’m tired of having 20 tracks from an artist in my library and one of them streams 100:1 more often than the other 19. This goes on with every artist in my library.

    My current fix is that after a track has streamed 100 times, delete it from my library and re-add it. That usually triggers a different track from the artist to get streamed to the point of annoyance.

    Jon Smirl – 13 April, 12:58
  13. Sedici-Nocciola
    13 April, 13:19

    The pause button is awesome, I still miss being able to listen to only loved tracks but hey!….

    Sedici-Nocciola – 13 April, 13:19
  14. daniel
    13 April, 13:52

    Thank you. Now, may be on demand music or loved tracks radio?

    daniel – 13 April, 13:52
  15. Iwein Fuld
    13 April, 13:55

    I’m probably missing something, but I can’t figure out how to actually play something with the last.fm app on android. Pretty useless if it only does scrobbling imho.

    Iwein Fuld – 13 April, 13:55
  16. Ele
    13 April, 14:06

    What about Iphone app for Poland…?

    Ele – 13 April, 14:06
  17. Simon
    13 April, 14:08

    Finally I know who to kill when something I hate comes on :D

    Simon – 13 April, 14:08
  18. Jono
    13 April, 14:52

    @Iwein Fuld We only have permission from Labels to stream to mobile in US, UK and Germany currently. We are currently negotiating deals in other countries but this can take time.

    Without the streaming feature, the Android app will still allow you to get music recommendations, search for more information on artists, tell you about local gigs and more.

    Most importantly though; the app will scrobble any music tracks you listen to using the native Android music app (and event other music apps like winamp), keeping your last.fm profile up to date and your recommendations relevant.

    Jono – 13 April, 14:52
  19. Pitel
    13 April, 14:58

    Pretty useless, since half of the world PAYING customers can’t event stream to mobile client. :( Last.fm, fix this first!

    Pitel – 13 April, 14:58
  20. Hugo
    13 April, 15:16

    Don’t worry, this is coming to everyone’s favourite Last.fm client for Symbian too!

    https://twitter.com/#!/Mobbler/status/58181417611444224

    Hugo – 13 April, 15:16
  21. Roger Witte
    13 April, 15:44

    The new features are very welcome.

    To be honest the Pause button required more work by lawyers than developers. Is this the trade-off for loved-tracks radio?

    Roger Witte – 13 April, 15:44
  22. Megan
    13 April, 17:48

    OMG PAUSE. Thank you, this was really needed. Really looking forward to the desktop client update now.

    Megan – 13 April, 17:48
  23. matthew
    13 April, 21:50

    Jon Smirl,

    Try Mix Radio instead of your Library Radio. Should give you a better mix of stuff from your library that you haven’t listened to that often as well as great recommendations.

    matthew – 13 April, 21:50
  24. Mac
    14 April, 00:24

    That is really f**** cool! Cant wait for this – on another note the new(ish) app design really is nice…the loading screen has a nice air of quality about it! – Mac

    Mac – 14 April, 00:24
  25. Samuel Miller
    14 April, 03:47

    I’ve noticed that when I pause an average-length song in somewhere about the middle, it doesn’t get scrobbled….

    Samuel Miller – 14 April, 03:47
  26. chassie
    14 April, 06:33

    how do you stop a song then?

    chassie – 14 April, 06:33
  27. pipaltree
    14 April, 09:46

    very cool new features!
    thank you guys, great job!

    pipaltree – 14 April, 09:46
  28. th3g
    14 April, 10:23

    pause, meh.

    but…..
    similar artist explinations, brilliant.
    have been wishing for this feature for so long!

    th3g – 14 April, 10:23
  29. mdd1985
    14 April, 12:04

    Now please can we have a BlackBerry app again? :)

    mdd1985 – 14 April, 12:04
  30. knuten
    14 April, 12:06

    Wonderful for those who live in the right area codes. Can we have android radio outside France, Germany and the US now, please?

    knuten – 14 April, 12:06
  31. Henriel
    14 April, 12:07

    Awesomeness!

    Henriel – 14 April, 12:07
  32. JamieL
    14 April, 12:09

    The player still looks the same to me OSX

    JamieL – 14 April, 12:09
  33. hella
    14 April, 12:27

    5 years and counting – I hope last.fm will be the last site on teh interwebz!

    hella – 14 April, 12:27
  34. Zimmund
    14 April, 12:43

    I love you, guys.

    Zimmund – 14 April, 12:43
  35. alesub
    14 April, 14:29

    now we need full screen! :D

    alesub – 14 April, 14:29
  36. WordPress
    14 April, 17:27

    it’s good news, great!

    WordPress – 14 April, 17:27
  37. KC
    14 April, 19:07

    What about, say, ‘tag radio’? What kind of information will be displayed about why a particular song is playing?

    KC – 14 April, 19:07
  38. Stefan Lichtblau
    15 April, 06:08

    Hi,
    yes, that is a very good thing, time for a little break, going to the doof, if the postman rings …

    A little thing would also been nice:
    I would like to tag also a musician as a favourite or as lovin him/her, not only songs!
    Thats, while I can get a list of most love musicians or groups

    Stefan Lichtblau – 15 April, 06:08
  39. Damien Rath
    15 April, 16:24

    I just want to say this and I think that songs less than 30 seconds should get scrobbled and even if it’s 2 or 5 seconds.

    Damien Rath – 15 April, 16:24
  40. drew826
    16 April, 20:56

    Thank you so much for the pause feature!

    drew826 – 16 April, 20:56
  41. mani5984
    17 April, 20:15

    This is great, now I’ll just have to get used to actually pausing instead of turning down the volume or something when I’m interrupted for a second.

    mani5984 – 17 April, 20:15
  42. Sha
    18 April, 08:09

    LOVE the pause feature!! Was frustrated when I am listening to a song I love and then get interupted and have to stop it :( THANK YOU for the pause button!!

    Sha – 18 April, 08:09
  43. TROGZEE
    18 April, 14:10

    Yea- THANX for the PAUSE

    TROGZEE – 18 April, 14:10
  44. Georg Portenkirchner
    18 April, 16:56

    When will the pause feature come to the Mac App?

    Georg Portenkirchner – 18 April, 16:56
  45. Zimmund
    19 April, 14:12

    Hey! Suggestion: I’d love to be able to ban completly an artist. Thank you =)

    Zimmund – 19 April, 14:12
  46. iPodMonster
    19 April, 23:32

    Oh, this is great! It would be awesome to have an iPad, Android, iPhone app. How can we get this started? Happy to pay to download it.

    iPodMonster – 19 April, 23:32
  47. Eglė
    21 April, 13:52

    Hi!

    I know it’s offtopic, but I just found one thing problematic. Just like 5 minutes ago Last.fm started not to show the non-Latin characters in personal messages and “about me” sections. I find it really problematic, as half of my letters and friends’ about me sections are uncomprehensible now :D

    I hope it’s just a temporary issue, and you’re not going to make it stay this way forever :)
    Thanks in advance.

    Eglė – 21 April, 13:52
  48. Indy
    21 April, 20:29

    Halle-freak’n-lujah!

    Indy – 21 April, 20:29
  49. seatbelt47
    25 April, 03:53

    Yay, finally some positive news related to adding features instead of taking things away.

    seatbelt47 – 25 April, 03:53
  50. DJ Berlin
    25 April, 20:41

    Last FM…
    I like it, to hear new music.
    Great Tools and its easy to use!

    DJ Berlin – 25 April, 20:41
  51. RG
    26 April, 19:07

    This is just fantastic, on both new features. I love being able to pause streams…. and I’ve always wondered how/why certain tracks were picked for me – it’s cool to be able to see the reasoning behind it. Keep up the excellent work!

    RG – 26 April, 19:07
  52. MM
    27 April, 20:08

    It’s got to be said I’m loving having a pause button, if they didn’t block me streaming Last.fm stations on uni internet I would be truly content.

    For some reason the radio in browser seems to play a better selection than the desktop application? I’m not sure if this is psychosomatic but I look forward to a better desktop app. Scrobbling doesn’t always work with my ipod touch but thanks for making improvements and not screwing people over like Spotify =]

    MM – 27 April, 20:08
  53. Franklin W.
    27 April, 21:22

    Thank you.

    Franklin W. – 27 April, 21:22
  54. CarlaW
    4 May, 02:51

    The pause button rocks. It’s like some icing on a cake – you can do without it but it’s much sweeter with it!

    CarlaW – 4 May, 02:51
  55. syndrella sebastian
    10 May, 05:14

    oh! it is quite beautiful, the pause button has these much importance in hearing music really loved it….thank you.

    syndrella sebastian – 10 May, 05:14
  56. oh8mxl
    14 May, 17:48

    I recently updated to Android platform and last.fm app was one of the first ones to download to my phone. But sadly it has no radio and no use of for me.

    oh8mxl – 14 May, 17:48
  57. Joseph
    16 May, 19:26

    Nice! I hope this makes its way to the OS X last.fm app.

    Joseph – 16 May, 19:26

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