For several years now, I’ve maintained one iTunes database even when I buy a new computer or reformat. It’s been important to me to have things like play count, last played, date added, etc. because it helps me create dynamic playlists for work. So I was stoked when I found out about Last.fm because it does more tracking of that kind of thing and throws a social networking edge in there to boot.
So seeing who my top artist was last week is pretty cool and all, but I’ve noticed that the site overall lacks some really useful features.
1. First, I’d really like to see more realtime updating of top artists this week (instead of saying “this week” but showing last week’s numbers).
2. What about showing one artist’s weekly playcount over a 3 month time period? There’s just so much you can do with that much data, it’s astounding.
But really, all that data stuff is just kind of cool to look at, and it would be pretty difficult to implement. Last.fm would have to beef up their features with no direct monetization. Now you can argue that making the site better leads to more people using it more frequently which leads to more people buying music through the site, and I’ll agree. However, when you’re talking about development for web applications, there’s only so much you can do in the hopes of attracting new users. Sometimes you really need something that will directly help you make money.
Okay, Last.fm, are you listening? This is a doozie. It looks like to me that quite a bit of your revenue comes from affiliate links to Amazon and such, where people buy music they like and you get a cut. If that’s so, I’ve got a useful product feature for you that will boost the number of albums you sell.
It’s pretty simple, actually. You scan the top 100 artists of a user. Then you discover which albums the user owns from that artist, and which ones they don’t. Then you have an album suggestion page which shows the user which albums from their favorite artists they don’t own. I know I would really benefit from this, since it can be difficult to keep up with as many artists as there are these days.
So how about it? We get a useful feature, and you get an easy revenue stream. It’s not often you get something that works for both sides that well.