Website update - 5th April

  • 12
  • Announcement
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
Hi everyone,

We just released the following:


Features

  • Current obsession (subscriber preview)
    What’s your favourite song right now? Customise your profile by setting your current obsession! Your current obsession is shown at the top of your profile, replacing the top track. Obsessions can be changed at any time but will automatically expire after one week.


  • Artist factboxes
    Information such as born/formation dates and locations, line-up details, and external links have been added to wiki pages.
    https://www.last.fm/music/Kendrick+Lamar/+wiki

Bugfixes

  • Prevent unplayable YouTube videos from being added to tracks

Cheers,
Team Last.fm
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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Posted 2 years ago

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James Joul

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Interesting idea. More customisation for profiles is always good. Would love to display a custom selection of artists on my profile again.

I think the wiki section could do with a header on artist pages (like Top Tracks/ Top Albums). Any info on what's coming in the next update, or what's being worked on right now?

Also, missing track artwork is still an issue. Even when the album I've Scrobbled it from does have an album cover, you'll still get this grey default image unless the release has been imported to the database with a tracklist. Very frustrating when you spend time uploading thousands of album covers and a lot of them are still missing in my library...

(Edited)
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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I don't want to focus too much on this particular issue, but it raises some things that I think are useful to talk about. This applies not only to this feature, but also to other parts of the site, that on first view, may seem to be doing 'the wrong thing'. Apologies if this is going over stuff you all already know...

Elliot is right, picking the most scrobbled album is simple and, ignoring the missing or weird tag cases, is almost definitely the right thing to do. Sadly though, simple to describe doesn't always translate into simple to implement. Everything comes with an associated cost that needs to be weighed up. In this system, as we don't store a user's top album for a track (library stats are mostly calculated in realtime), every time we showed an obsession, we'd have to fetch all the user's scrobbles for that track, sum the albums and pick the top one. This is probably fairly easy to code but doing it every time someone looks at a profile page will take up processing resources somewhere, potentially slowing down the page.

Now, we could get round this by caching the result. This reduces the processing overhead but replaces it with more complexity (eg how and when do we invalidate the cache?), which in turn increases development time, and also adds potential storage costs. You could try and speed things up by reducing the number of scrobbles to process, but this adds new costs when planning out the feature as it throws up a bunch of new questions that need to be answered - Do you base it on timeframe or number of scrobbles? What range do you pick? How do you communicate this to users so they understand why it doesn't match their expectations? And so on. The answers to these questions may then translate into more dev/space/time costs.

Maybe all these additional costs aren't huge in this example, but as the primary album option comes for free (ish) and is 'good enough', it's a strong contender for 'the right thing to do'.

That said, it is useful to hear your thoughts on these matters. Knowing what's important to you all helps us to figure out these cost/benefit tradeoffs when building out features like this.
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James Joul

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Thank you for the information. I know quite a few of us have been asking about this for a long time, and it's good to finally get an answer - even if it's not what I wanted to hear.

I'd like to see more posts like this in the future so that we can understand more about how the website works and the difficulties with implementing or improving certain features. As a user looking in from the outside, it seems like a very simple problem, (one that should be easy to just fix in a short amount of time) and it's frustrating to see that after all of this time it's still an issue. But it's good to know that there are reasons as to why it hasn't been improved yet and that it's actually more difficult than it looks.

I think more communication on the process of developing parts of the website could go a long way. 
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Elliot Robinson

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I echo James Joul's comment.

If the coding overhead or execution costs are too great, I would suggest that maybe the feature (whatever it happens to be, not just this one) isn't that viable.

Re: Current Obsession, could you not just list the song and artist as text with the background image being that of the artist, perhaps with the playcount shown, as well? Personally, I think if you can't get the relevant album artwork to display (after all costs have been evaluated), then I would either use just text or maybe a thumbnail of the artist. Our pages are meant to be showcasing our taste and listening habits, having the wrong album indicated through the artwork is jarring - particularly so if it's a feature for paid subscribers - after all, the "primary album" may be one you've never actually listened to.
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Cassandra-Leo

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Wouldn't the simplest solution for the obsession feature be simply to let users decide which album they wanted to display artwork from? Less processing power, shouldn't require much additional storage space, gives users most control over their profile.
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Cassandra-Leo

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Wouldn't the simplest solution for the obsession feature be simply to let users decide which album they wanted to display artwork from? Less processing power, shouldn't require much additional storage space, gives users most control over their profile.
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Sharon K

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What I like the most about this update is under 'Bugfixes' ~   preventing unplayable YouTube videos from being added to tracks but saying that, I tried adding a Vevo video (which I believe are not playable) and tried adding a regular YouTube video and neither one got added. Both just sat there  and the loading circle wouldn't stop spinning......
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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Cool. Glad it worked ok.

Yeah, generally Vevo videos are blocked from being played on Last.fm. Other videos might not be embeddable, either due to a setting applied by the uploader, or rights restrictions often applied by the copyright owner. The new form now tries to play the video before accepting it, so you're safe to try adding videos from anywhere. If it gets through the test, it should play OK on the track page.
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Sharon K

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Great!! In the process now of informing ABP. Thanks for your help James. :)
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E-Clect-Eddy

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Hi James. I suggest adding more info to the warning about uploading videos cos your suggestion did not work at first or second time.

Tried to add a playable video but faced just as Sharon K. Than when disabling adblocker (standard Opera on W10) it did not work with just a page refresh or 3 or 4. Only after CTRL+ (F5) refresh and after the adds got in it was possible to add the video.

In the warning:

"Please do not abuse this system. Adding videos other than the official video for this track may result in you being banned from adding videos, or from the entire site"

there should be more info regarding adblockers and the CTRL F5 thing without that I think less videos wil be added. Unless that is what you're aiming for.
(Edited)
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Patrick

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I'm having a similar problem. When I click to play an album or a track on last.FM, nothing happens, when I open Last.FM in an incognito window, the track on Last.FM plays with no problem. I have 3 AdBlock extensions installed on my browsers.
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Elwood Blues

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Just a heads-up for some similar issue: purely by chance I tried to play a video (that I had added recently) while being logged out of my last.fm account. But the video was not included on the track page. So I logged back in and the video was back on the track page. In the end I discovered that a) the "YouTube High Definition" add-on for Firefox circumvents the video check and lets me add any video I want and b) if the video is unplayable it will show up on the track page when logged into my account but not when logged out. Strange behaviour...
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Action Radar

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I think the infobox feature is an interesting idea. Quick question: If a group disbands and reunites, is there a bbcode for that?
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Andreas_Wotte

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The old artist factbox was generated while users were editing wikis with BBC like [yearsplit]1623[/yearsplit] and [yearformed]1625[/yearformed] etc. (as far as I remember right)
(Edited)
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lennie

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is there any documentation about the new bbcode tags except the Kendrick Lamar wiki? =)
Looks like this page does not help at all: https://www.last.fm/help/markup
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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We're not using the wiki's bbcode for this. The new factboxes are importing data from Musicbrainz, so if that's up-to-date it should be reflected on Last.fm the next time we refresh our dataset.

(edit: oh, James already answered this later in the thread)
(Edited)
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lennie

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I see, thanks for your reply Jon!
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Matthew Lowery

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Trying to update the Wiki for Bölzer's artist page but for some reason it isn't recognising the placeformed and member tags, therefore only listing the year formed. Any idea what I'm doing wrong here? Thanks.

https://www.last.fm/music/B%C3%B6lzer...
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Andreas_Wotte

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You've done nothing wrong Matthew (except [bandmemberFabian]). This old important bbc's aren't working anymore since beta. Imo the artist factboxes update as a unit will be finished with the integration of this bbc's. In any case I vote for it !
(Edited)
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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Yeah, sorry for the confusion. The wiki doesn't currently affect factboxes. See my comment later down this post for more info.
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Andreas_Wotte

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Do I suppose right James, you generate the artist factboxes from a 3rd party source?
So how are the wiki editors able to correct wrong informations or able to add missing data from now on?
And are bbc's like [ placeformed ], [ yearformed ], [ bandmember from to ] or [ yearsplit ] still usefull or obsolete?
(Edited)
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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While we're not currently using the bbcode, it's all still useful info. Thank you for keeping the wikis up to date and well tagged.
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Stig Nygaard

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More customization with https://greasyfork.org/scripts/21153-stig-s-last-fm-album-linkr , though this defines how you generally  see profiles on last.fm (Not how other generally sees your profile)...
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Houndworld

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Do you know what my obsession is? Autocorrect. Please, stop this awful behaviour.
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Elliot Robinson

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Good to see the return of info on artist pages in the form of factboxes, however this information is clearly being lifted from elsewhere, rather than the bios.

On the one hand, I can see why this could be a good thing, but I think there needs to be a distinction added so it is the "years active" listed on the main profile page, while the age (also interesting/useful fact) could be listed under the expanded Biography page. Having the "years active" info listed on the main page also creates a unified piece of info for all pages, as (for example) bands and groups aren't born, per se.

I think it would make sense to rely more on user-submitted wiki info, as the fans generally know this information the best (using BBCode mark-ups), and wherever you are currently sourcing the data from has a lot of holes in its directory.
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Andreas_Wotte

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"... the fans generally know this information the best ..."
Once LFM has known, after all, the knowledge and power of volunteering users make the site alive. You can only win with your customers not beneath, above or against them. I would appreciate the LFM philosophy would stay more faithful to the old insight.
(Edited)
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Avariko

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The album cover thing in the Top tracks needs to be fixed! There's so many tracks with a grey box or an incorrect cover from some random compilation album. Don't even get me started with tracks that have features, the database often has them as a separate artist! Recent example would be with Kelly Lee Owens - Anxi. (feat. Jenny Hval) the database has it as Kelly Lee Owens feat. Jenny Hval - Anxi. 

The covers should be determined by the album it's scrobbled from.
(Edited)
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pizdziec

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another useless update. do you work on something relevant?
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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Sometimes. In fact, this week we fixed the problem where artists couldn't be removed from event lineups. It'll be in the next release.
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Hans-Jürgen, Moderator

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I can confirm that staff is still working on tremendous bigly updates to make Last.fm great again. Believe me.
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Matti81

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i hope so...
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666

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Fool me once.shame on you, hans-jurgen. Fool me more than once shame on me.
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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Currently the factbox data is being pulled from Musicbrainz rather than the wiki. We're looking at augmenting this with the wiki bbcode but, for now, if there are errors/omissions then these can be amended on Musicbrainz.
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Matthew Lowery

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How regularly does it scrape MusicBrainz for the information? Also, if it's automatically taken from MusicBrainz, what does this mean for artist pages that contain more than one artist?
(Edited)
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Andreas_Wotte

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Thank you for the feedback James. Like all the other editoring users, it my pleasure to maintain the wikis. With your current solution all this volunteers will have double effort with the wiki maintain, because now we have to care for musicbrainz too (if necessary). I do not understand, why it was not your first step, but it's good to hear, that you consider the priority of the wiki bbc over the musicbrainz data as a following improvement of the artist factbox.
(Edited)
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James Scott, Web dev lead

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If a page has more than one artist, we (generally) don't show the factbox. This was also true (I think) of the data derived from wikis.
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Elliot Robinson

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If a page has more than one artist, we (generally) don't show the factbox. This was also true (I think) of the data derived from wikis.
I realise this, I asked if the intention is still to separate them?
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Cornel Diaconu

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Err, @James ... the rule to not show factboxes for artists that share the same name may have a bug, because I found a case where it did  :
https://www.last.fm/music/Night/+wiki
(there are 9 artists described in the wiki page, but at the same time there is a factbox with how many years of activity).

At other cases I tried, things are, indeed, according to the rule.
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lennie

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Great. Still no groups, no journals, no proper tags, no event venue creation, terrible autocorrect. But hey, we got "obessions" now!

The factboxes however is a good thing I think.
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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Thanks for your feedback lennie, what do you mean by "proper" tags?
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Postkobaian

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Jon, I think he refers to this: https://getsatisfaction.com/lastfm/topics/request-for-a-tag-library

For me it's the feature I miss the most. I sorted the music I listened to using tags.
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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I was hoping that might be it as we should have good news to share on this soon. :) 
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VirtualLionelMessi .

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We still have a beta first page, but, to quote above post, 'hey, we got obsessions now'.

You have huge amounts of data, if you only applied some big data alghorithms on them and we could get so many interesting facts (recommendations being what I keep posting about every now and then here), but no, we get obsessions..
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E-Clect-Eddy

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Once a venue is set in an event and it is changed it can't be deleted to opt for a venue that is not yet in de Last.fm database/system.

Could there be like a Delete venue button?
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simillarian

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Would it be possible to add album functionality to the "Current Obsession" feature? I would like to put an album up there instead of a song.
(Edited)
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Patrick

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I hope Administrators and engineers have plans to fix messy tags that Spotify leaves in our library. Including building a new database that will display records without annoying titles like [24-bit digital remastered], [Remastered version] or [Expanded edition]. It's annoying. Especially Various Artists, do technicians have plans to fix it? Because, if you look at your album scrobbles, compilation albums are listed as albums by the last artist you scrobbled from the album instead as a various artists album, usually breaking the album art. That is my only obsession.
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dukedave

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I think obsessions is neat, it nicely fills the whole which This Is My Jam left behind :)
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jwf

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Just chiming it, it's been a long time since I've checked in here, but it's awesome to see these updates continuing and building better transparency between the "behind the scenes" of Last.fm with the community. The obsessions are a nice addition. A lot of the trust that eroded a couple years ago is being built back up with things like this. Looking forward to what's next...

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