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Summary:

“Audio Scrobbling,” as defined by Last.fm, is the act of submitting to a central database the details of what songs you’ve been listening to (what album, by who and when you listened). Scrobbling to Last.fm is the main reason I use the service these days, especially […]

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“Audio Scrobbling,” as defined by Last.fm, is the act of submitting to a central database the details of what songs you’ve been listening to (what album, by who and when you listened). Scrobbling to Last.fm is the main reason I use the service these days, especially since it made the internet radio part of it a paid subscription only service for Australia. I think that being able to easily track and visualise my listening history and share that with friends is a great example of the social internet revolution.

There are a number of ways to have your music scrobbled to Last.fm from your Mac. Which one you chose depends on which fits into your music workflow the best.

First, a few words regarding iPod scrobbling. While many of the clients will scrobble what you’ve played on your iPod/iPhone (once you’ve synced your device), Last.fm does not accept scrobbles with a date-time in the past if more recent tracks have already been scrobbled. This means it’s generally not possible to listen to tracks on your device, listen to tracks on your computer and scrobble them, then sync your device and expect the songs previously listened to on the device to then scrobble too. ScrobblePod is the only tool I’ve tried that successfully handles this.

So, without further ado, here are 12 ways to scrobble your music listening habits to Last.fm.

The Official Client

Fully featured, the official client focuses on the Internet radio part of Last.fm, but does scrobble songs played through iTunes as well as picking up what you have listened to on your iPod. If you often use Last.fm for Internet radio, this make the most sense. It will attempt to scrobble iPod tracks played. This official client is free.

Standalone Players

The following apps are standalone players, they do not control iTunes and iTunes does not need to be running. They can, however, access your existing iTunes library.

SweetFM

SweetFM is a full Last.fm client which can stream radio as well as scrobble what iTunes is playing. However, you can’t control iTunes with it. iPod scrobbling is not supported. SweetFM is an open-sourced project.

Deck

The Deck is a standalone full album player that lets you queue up complete albums and play them in the order you want. The tracks it plays will then be scrobbled. iPod scrobbling is not supported. Deck costs $20, with a trial version available that will randomly pause playing.

Songbird

Songbird is a full, open-source iTunes replacement that contains a downloadable Last.fm module (this will be downloaded for you when you first start the application). This module will scrobble as well as enable the Internet radio functionality of Last.fm. For a complete review of Songbird see TheAppleBlog’s comprehensive review. Surprisingly, iPod scrobbling is not supported.

Spotify

Spotify is a cloud-based music service, where you make your music available to yourself anywhere you are. It requires an online account, which might not be available in your country (its not in Australia or the U.S.). iPod scrobbling is not supported.

iTunes Controllers

These applications serve primarily as remote controllers for iTunes, offering alternative ways to play your music, while offering scrobbling functionality as an added bonus.

Synergy

Synergy presents buttons in the menubar to let you always control iTunes and will scrobble them too. iPod scrobbling is not supported. Synergy costs 5 Euros, but a free trial is available.

CoverSutra

CoverSutra is an iTunes HUD based controller that can scrobble for you. iPod scrobbling is not supported. It costs $20 with a free trial available.

CoverStream

Another iTunes helper app, this gives you the ‘Cover Flow’ view as a popup HUD window while scrobbling to Last.fm. iPod scrobbling is not supported. CoverStream costs 15 Euros, and a free trial is available.

Bowtie

Bowtie is a slim remote that offers many visual themes and utilizes lots of keyboard shortcuts, while also scrobbling to Last.fm. iPod scrobbling is not supported. Bowtie is free.

iTunes Scrobblers

These applications do just one thing, they sit in the background, scrobble whats playing in iTunes and nothing else.

iScrobbler

A nice dedicated scrobbler thats small and fast. iPod scrobbling can be turned on and off, and you can specify a specific playlist to use too. It attempts to solve the iPod sync issue by giving an option (enabled by default) to queue submissions if an iPod is mounted, but this just doesn’t work for me. iScrobbler is free.

Audioscrobbler

Audioscrobbler is a fork of the official Last.fm client, released by an ex Last.fm employee. This contains just the iTunes scrobbling parts of the official client. It does not yet handle iPods at all. Audioscrobbler is free.

ScrobblePod

ScrobblePod is my scrobbler of choice. It has a tiny memory and CPU footprint and stays out of the way. Most importantly it only ever scrobbles after my iPhone has finished syncing with iTunes. This means it cleanly handles all combinations of listening on the device or computer in any order. ScrobblePod is free.

Which scrobbler is your favorite?

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  1. I have to admit I don’t understand what you are saying about the iPhone scrobbles.

    When I get home from school and hook up my iPhone to sync, I start listening to songs immediately. There are usually about 4 or 5 songs scrobbled from my desk top before the Last.fm application pops up with the list of listens on the iPhone. I click submit and voila! And all the time stamps are just fine.

    I know the only way this does not work properly is if you have the “I manage my iTunes Library manually” clicked on.

    Maybe I am missing what you are saying?

  2. I wrote Audioscrobbler.app, and worked on the official desktop client for 2 and a half years.

    Felt I should say that it is no longer a problem to scrobble iPod scrobbles after regular scrobbles, so queuing them is certainly unnecessary.

    It was never really necessary, just the iPod scrobble timestamps would be wrong.

    Personally I expect most people would rather have their iTunes scrobbles be realtime. So at least scrobblepod and iscrobbler can fix that now.

    Also, I should say, Audioscrobbler.app uses new code that will be part of the next official Last.fm client release. And it’s open source on GitHub: http://github.com/mxcl/lastfm-cocoa

  3. CoverSutra does it for me…but I think I’m gonna try Bowtie. Great article! Thanks!

    1. Bowtie has a great search feature

  4. I use iScrobbler and love it. Stays out of the way like you say and I haven’t had any trouble with the ipod queuing scrobbles while it’s mounted. That works like a charm for me. Nice article too, there are a few options on here I had no idea about.

  5. Andrew Bednarz Friday, December 4, 2009

    Thanks for the update on iPod scrobbling, glad to hear the issue has been fixed. I had this issue all the time, when trying to scrobble iPod tracks after scrobbling ‘live’ iTunes, getting “submission failed” and the research I did gave me the information I presented. I stand corrected, happily! :)

  6. Last.fm: 12 Ways to Scrobble – abednarz.net Friday, December 4, 2009

    [...] your Mac. Which one you chose depends on which fits into your music workflow the best. Read more at The Apple Blog AKPC_IDS += "498,"; Share this Post: Tagged [...]

  7. +1 for iScrobbler

  8. I’ve been looking for the best way to scrobble my music lately… great article!

  9. There’s also GimmeSomeTune, which allows iTunes keyboard control and is pretty unobtrusive.

    BTW: props for Devin Townsend fanship!

  10. Thanks, for the info.

    There seems to be no rich feature solution for managing, playing and social interaction of music. I use iTunes supplemented with 3 controllers and scripts.

    iScrobbler – light weight and the appropriate controls for Last.fm usage

    you control:tunes – nice powerful mini controller that sit in the menu bar

    Gimmie Some Tune – handy for finding lyrics, though not as effective since Lyric Wiki got the smack down, album art, good keyboard controls, nice configurable growl like hud when songs changes. Also, has Last.fm capability and mini controller but I don’t use them because it’s not as featured filled as iScrobbler and you control:tunes

    Scripts for wikipedia and tab search, I think I got them from Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes.

    All are free

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