After being introduced to Spotify recently, this suddenly turned out to be my main source of music. I find that having access to so much music without actually having the files on my computer is a pretty big advantage*. The interface is neat and sleek – for sure some innovative details in context menus and album overview. But I don’t like the concept of having «backward» and «forward» functionality. That belongs to browsers, not music players. And the collaborative playlist should have some internal rating or at least some form of interaction between users … simply adding/deleting files can give unpleasant surprises.
The good thing with last.fm – despite the fact that you cannot actually choose to play exactly the songs you want – is that you get to know new music, and can rather listen to a certain «kind» of music, than only one particular artist. And quite frankly, I would rather listen to good music in general than only one artist, because that tend not to be equal. With Spotify’s collaborative playlist they are close to offering the same, as I am not fully in control of what’s there. But the effort it takes to create my own playlists – especially considering the incomplete collections of albums – still makes last.fm my preferred choice. And last.fm also seem to have more music. I still have only one playlist in Spotify. But that’s a pretty good one though 🙂
Appendix: Spotify is not offered in every country. Albums are released under different rights, and I was worried when descovering that Spotify was not yet offered in Canada, that I was unable of enjoying this new feature. And Spotify allows you to listen to music for only 14 days while away from your «home» country (Norway, in my case). The solution is pretty simple though: Spotify supports a number of tunnelling protocols, so I simply connected to my home university with SSH in putty, and set Spotify to connect via a socks 5 interface. Then my Spotify connection gets a Norwegian IP, and problem is solved 🙂
* – I have been using ampache to organize my remote collection of music on my home server in Norway for quite some time now. It works pretty well, but still requires that you maintain a good selection of music yourself.