9 aug 2006, 16:26
In future releases of the Last.fm software we will be blurring the line between streaming from last.fm and listening to local content. I'll write more about this later, but it has caused us to examine how the submission process works.
Currently it works like this:
- When listening to the radio, songs are scrobbled at the end of the song, or when you press skip or ban.
- When listening locally (iTunes, winamp etc.), songs are scrobbled after 240 seconds or 50% of the song has been played, whichever comes first. Songs less than 30 seconds in duration are ignored. It is possible to skip a song after the 50% threshold, which means it has already been scrobbled.
We want to unify this so that all songs are treated equally, regardless of the source. It's quite confusing at the moment that local playback scrobbles half way thru and radio playback at the end.
Here's what we have in mind. I'm posting it here to get some initial feedback before any development takes place. It's quite a subtle change:
- All songs will now be scrobbled (aka, submitted / sent to server) when the track has finished. Either when it has played all the way thru, or when it is skipped/banned.
- There will be an (advanced) option in the client where you can set a slider from 50% to 100%. This dictates when the song is considered played enough to scrobble. For example, if you set the slider to 50%, the song is marked as scrobbled when you've listened to 50% of it. If you then press skip 10 seconds from the end, it will still be scrobbled. If you set the slider to 100%, you need to listen to the entire song for it to be scrobbled.
So if we make the default setting of the slider 50% it will appear to have the same behaviour as the current plugins.
The difference being that the actual submission is deferred to the end of the song, which allows us to factor in any last minute ratings, and ultimately give more control to the client software to decide how and when scrobbling takes place.
The only obvious change to most users is that your "10 recent tracks list" would then not update until after the song has finished. Currently it adds the current song half way thru. (or 240 secs, whichever comes first).
To address this, we will add an addional step to the submission process. Plugins will be able to ping the server as soon as a new track starts playing. This will act as a realtime "now playing" indicator. A new one-liner will appear just above the recent tracks list which indicates "now playing". If the song you are now-playing is actually submitted, it will appear in your recent tracks list as normal, and disappear from the now-playing indicator.
This update will give us realtime now-playing information for the website (and chart images/webservices), and also push more responsibility of when/how to scrobble onto the client, giving the user more control.