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This is valuable because I can then go back and rediscover music that I have listened to in the past. I have listened to over 3,000 artists. Many I may never listen to again, but in this era of streaming music services, there is so much more music that is accessible, and being able to cull through all of that and find new music that I like is not easy.
Except it was with the old last.fm web site.
You see, your database, coupled with people's tagging, made all kinds of links, links between related artists, links between people with related musical interests, etc. Further, the old web site provide a means to search those links and find new music. Today, I am no longer able to do most of that.
Here are a few examples.
- The search no longer provides tags as results. Often I am in the mood for some genre. This is one of the areas where last.fm excelled, because genres are created by the community, not some default subset of genres that all of the streaming services provide, and most music I listen to would just fall under "electronic" or "world" and be lumped in with millions of other songs that I really am not in the mood for.
- There is no longer any access to neighbors. I can see my followers, and that is it. I have often discovered new music by seeing those people who have similar musical tastes, and what they are listening to. In fact, I think that is the only way that I have built up a list of followers. I do not connect last.fm to any social media, and I shouldn't need to. I already know my real-life friends and family do not share my musical interests.
- The list of tags on a given artist is much smaller. There are now only about five tags listed for an artist, even if there may be many more. I have found some really wacky tags which have then allowed me to discover new music, and with the limited list of tags displayed, that will no longer be possible.
The next biggest issue I take is that I feel that the usability factor has gone down. Now, I studied human-computer interaction in college, so I will try to elucidate on that point.
As many have stated, there is a large amount of white space. It's kind of a web 2.5 or something that's going on here, but it really is a large waste of space, and I think a lot of us have enjoyed the original layout.
I was going to write more in this category, but now I can't find much more usability issues to write about. The format is basically space-wasting and inefficient. There are plenty of missing features, and plenty of changes, but I can't count either of those as usability issues.
I will end with this. Though I came to last.fm for the database and its features, I did also make use of the last.fm labs, including "Blasts from the Past," the feature to see what areas of the site you've visited, and the tags filtering of my library. I have also used third-party features. I would love it if these things made a comeback, but getting the basic functionality that I describe at the beginning of this post is of utmost importance to me. I'll even deal with the usability issue if the functionality is there. For now, there is no alternative.
I'm hopeful that the folks at last.fm will take our complaints to heart, and at some point I can be a last.fm subscriber once again.
Thank you for your consideration.