Hey Last.fm! long time user here. Have you ever thought of adding a feature that tells you if you make it onto a Top Listener board for an artist? Maybe a little badge next to the artist link in your scrobbling history
Not a fan of that at all. Last.fm is already plagued enough by people scrobbling fakes just so they could get a high scrobble number on their account (and in the meantime messing up last.fm charts). Giving out badges is a sure fire extra incentive for people to fake it up even more just to have some badge.Perhaps something like that could be considered only if last.fm first gets measures into place that limits users ability to mess with its system.
Badges (in general, not necessarily top listener) are something we've been wanting to do for years but for various reasons we've never gone ahead with it. I've seen at least 3 different mock designs and at least one prototype in recent years. As Jan hinted at, the difficulty is in getting the balance right between rewarding positive contributions to the site while discouraging unwanted behaviour like cheating. For example, the listening reports have slight elements of competitiveness (with the streaks and leaderboards) to encourage scrobbling, but the scope is limited to personal bests and the people you follow. So if we ever do this it would most likely be based around personal milestones and achievements, rather than global.
I never tried to become a top listener because it prevents me from getting optimal recommendations. Whenever you force yourself against your feelings to scrobble songs, the algorithm will learn to send you music that you don't really enjoy. Basically the system reflects your behaviour. And badges encourage users who don't care about recommendations to force-scrobble their way to a top ranking. So not only cheaters are a problem but also the legit listeners who are getting motivated by artificial incentives. Real incentives to scrobble would be for example an interface that allows to enjoy the music without barriers and a good radio mixing system with filtering options similar to SmarterPlaylists.