LastHistory – Visualizing Last.fm Listening Histories

This week Klaas, one of the researchers at Last.fm released to the Last.fm playground the ability to plot data from your personal listening history.  (read about it here: Now in the Playground: Scrobbling Timelines).

You can look at when you started to listen to particular bands, or even compare your listening to one of your Last.fm friends (here you can see my cumulative listening as compared to my good Last.fm friend Neil Gaiman.  It’s a really neat app that highlights the awesome listening data that Last.fm has been collecting for the last 6 or so years.

With the new Last.fm plots you can look at your listening history – but there’s a new app that takes this idea one step further.    LastHistory, an application by Frederik Seiffert and Dominikus Baur from the Media Informatics Group of the University of Munich  allows you to analyze music listening histories from Last.fm through an interactive visualization and to explore your own past by combining the music you listened to with your own photos and calendar entries.  Like  Klaas’s scrobbling graphs, LastHistory lets you browse music listening history, but LastHistory goes beyond that – it lets you interact with the visualization, allowing you to use your listening history for music exploration, and playlisting.  And since the listening history can be any Last.fm listener, it is a great vehicle for music discovery too. The video makes it all really clear:

The integration with your iPhoto library is genius. While you listen to the music  that you played in the car on that road trip to Tennessee in 2oo8 you can see a slide show of your photos from  that same trip.

LastHistory runs on a Mac. When you run it for the first time, you tell it your last.fm name. It then goes to Last.fm to collect your listening history and info about all of the tracks.  (This can take a few minutes depending on how long you’ve been listening at Last.fm). But even while it is retrieving your data you can start to interact with the data.   And interacting with this application is very fun.

Each dot on the display represents a single song play at a point in the past.  Mouse over the point to see the song name and to see other times when you played the song.  Click on the song to hear it.  The dots are colored by the genre (discovered by using the last.fm tags applied to the song).  It is quite fun exploring my own listening history. Here’s the time when I first got the Weezer ‘Red’ Album:

This app is cool in so many ways, I know that I’m going to spend  a lot of time playing with this app.  But ff you try it out, remember that it is a 1.0 version. I did experience a crash or two, but it seemed to pick up where it left off without trouble.  Oh yes, one more thing that moves this app from totally cool into über-cool is that it is all open source.  Get the code here:  LastHistory on Github. Congrats to Frederik and Dominikus for creating the first novel music exploration app of the decade.  Nice job!

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  1. #1 by Frederik on February 17, 2010 - 4:33 am

    Thank you Paul for the fantastic review! I’m looking forward to see what users find out about their listening histories with this.

    About the crashes: I would recommend not to interact with the visualization until retrieving the data from Last.fm has finished (I know, it’s difficult… ;)). There seems to be a multi-threading issues that needs to be fixed…

  2. #2 by zazi on February 17, 2010 - 6:20 am

    Wow, LastHistory seems really amazing. Very good use case for personalisation or perhaps Semantic Desktop and it makes “only” use of Last.fm and Apple related products (iPhoto, iCal, iTunes). Of course, I can image with that configuration one will get a good audience, but that’s maybe just the beginning. What about a Windows port, including other sources e.g. acoustic metadata from content analysis (Last.fm tags are not everywhere widespreaded) or a better user experience e.g. a more intuitive search query modelling (e.g. event selection).
    I really like that development.

    Cheers

  3. #3 by m0nkiii on February 20, 2010 - 7:19 pm

    I see you are interesting in statistics and ways to view history from Last.fm. Take a look at my site: http://lastfm.shikaka.net I think you’ll like it :)

  1. Infographic of the Day: LastHistory Graphs All Your Last.fm Listening | Web Design Cool
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