Music is a big, defining category for the Facebook generation, and so it’s no surprise that there are more than enough apps that allow users to show off what they’re into, and connect with others who are into the same thing. In this article, I take a look at several of the best “tracker” apps – apps that monitor your music input and update your profile with that data accordingly. This style of data collection has been around for a while, not least with sites like Last.fm, which make sense of the data and use it in interesting social ways.
Up until the advent of the app platform, however, there was no easy way for Facebook users to show these music labels outside of Facebook’s own “Favorite Music” text field.
As you’d expect, a few of these are Last.fm plugins (in fact, third-party developers beat Last.fm to the platform punch), though a few aren’t:
- Last.fm Music – This is the official Last.fm application. It is indeed a Last.fm tracker, but its primary focus seems to be on sharing content with friends. For data junkies, this app will seem cluttered with useless functionality. Requires: Last.fm account and software plugin.
- Last.fm Plus – made by Paul Wells, this is a Last.fm tracker which puts a premium on simplicity and customizability. It’s my personal favorite of the lot, and gives you full, flexible control over all of Last.fm’s data streams. There are also links to check out your friends’ tracks, and global Facebook tracks, though at the time of writing these features were down. Requires: Last.fm account and software plugin.
- Last.fm Charts – by Joe Shamah, another Last.fm tracker with a focus on the data. It seems to work fine, though with fewer customizability options, and for me the display in the profile was slightly off. Requires: Last.fm account and software plugin.
- My Last Songs Played – by MOG. Simple, bare bones tracker. Requires: MOG software.
- My Top Songs this Week – another MOG creation (why didn’t they roll both of these into one app?). Same as before, only shows top songs instead. Requires: MOG software.
- myTracker – by Keenan Gizzi. This one uses its own tracking software for WMP and iTunes (Windows-only, unfortunately) to achieve the same affect. It looks decent in the left side of the profile. Requires: Windows, its own tracker software.
- uPlayMe – this tracker is a bit more colorful, more socially-oriented app. Requires: uPlayMe account and software.
- Last.fm – Last 10 – by Hyo Byun, this one gets a mention for being the smallest-footprint app, wasting no space (not even on layout!). However, there’s an international character error right inside the screenshot, so I would recommend one of the other Last.fm apps. Requires: Last.fm account and software plugin.
- Last.fm+ – by Loren Segal. Not to be confused with Last.fm Plus, this one is another so-so contender in the Last.fm space, with yet another take on minimalist style. Some users might prefer it! Requires: Last.fm account and software plugin.
An interesting thing to note with these trackers is that they all focus on the song level, or the artist level. However, the bread-and-butter of any career musician is never the song, but rather the album. An “Album listen” is a rarer and harder thing to track, however, so it’s understandable that this stratum is missing. In that light, I wanted to mention my own app CDs, which seeks to fill this void. Its advantages over the other apps include a nice way to display album art, while its main disadvantage is obvious: some user input is required to add an album.
Well, so much for the Facebook music trackers. There’s a whole other set of music apps being developed, the purpose of which is primarily to share or host content for consumption within the Facebook profile; but those will have to wait for a later article!