Last.fm is a great way to discover new music based on what you already like. It has some nice features, like the ability to monitor your iPod listening habits, that give it enough data to supply recommendations that tend to be pretty good. It’s a nice service, but it doesn’t have the masses of users that flock to other social networking sites.
If the music industry would cooperate, Last.fm (a CBS property) could take advantage of a great opportunity staring them in the face: Music sharing. Twitter and Twitter are full of people sharing links and little snippets of information. Why not make it easy for people to share music?
If you search for an individual song on Last.fm, you can often stream it right there on the spot. A growing number of tracks are like this, but most of them are still just previews. If a track comes up in Radio mode, it will always play in it’s entirety, but there are often limitations if you call up a song manually. If they could have those limitations removed, Last.fm could become a great way to refer your friends to music you like, opening the door to more music sales through the handy iTunes/Amazon affiliate links they serve up.
With that out of the way, Last.fm could focus on making it easier to share links to music streams.
- They should implement their own short URLs, in the form of last.fm/s63b1a. This would make their links more visible over all of the TinyURLs and Bit.lys all over Twitter. It would also ensure that their URLs would always work, instead of being reliant on other shorteners’ services.
- Add buttons to make it ridiculously easy to share a song or artist on Twitter and Facebook. This would help put their pages out there more, increase traffic to Last.fm, bringing them more ad revenue and sales through iTunes and Amazon.
These two simple things could potentially make a world of difference, even if it takes them awhile to free-up direct access to tracks more.