Media

Last.fm’s new music discovery web app focuses on indie bands

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Streaming music site Last.fm has launched a new Web app for people who are bored with their music library and looking for some fresh tunes.

One of the first streaming music services, Last.fm grew in popularity for its ability to let users customize radio stations and carry their listening data (called scrobbles) to other music services for an enhanced experience. But with the influx of competing streaming music services (Pandora, Turntable.fm, Spotify), Last.fm hasn’t made many waves. The company hopes to change with its new Last.fm Discovery app.

The app is basically a HTML5-optimized music player geared toward lesser known indie bands and music groups. Songs are sorted by more than two million user-generated tags, rather than a group of familiar genres such as rock, alternative or jazz. The service features music from over 500,000 artists. It’s currently advertisement-free and available worldwide.

“[The app] introduces you to bands from around the world by letting you browse through musical styles that you may already know or want to learn more about,” said Last.fm Product Lead Matthew Hawn in a blog post announcing Last.fm Discovery. “You won’t find the latest X-factor winner or the latest plastic boyband manufactured by evil scientists in a lab somewhere. Our tags system encourages the weird and the wonderful, the micro-communities and new scenes that are springing up as fast as new, independent bands are formed.”

The Last.fm Discovery app seems like an improved version of the “Tag Tuner” feature from competitor Blip.fm — a service that turns user-submitted streaming music links from other services (like Grooveshark and YouTube) into playlists. Since Last.fm hosts its own music, its music player isn’t likely to have many of the playback issues that plague Blip.fm.