• Another Month, Another Decline for Last.fm

    Nov 13 2008, 6:11

    As I have reported in previous journal entries Last.fm's Web traffic has fallen sharply since it redesigned its Web site. The October numbers are in. The good news for Last.fm is that their Web traffic in October didn't fall as much as it had in September and August. The bad news is that it did still fall even farther and now Last.fm Web traffic is 32-35% (depending on the exact metric) than before their redesign.

    Three months after launch the new Last.fm design has one-third fewer users than the old design. The people have spoken.
  • Last.fm's Web traffic continues to slide

    Ott 9 2008, 1:31

    I received the September Web stats from my friend in the Web site biz (see August stats here) In every measure of Web traffic - visitors, unique visitors, return visitors, page views, page views per visitor, and length of time spent on page, Last.fm is now down over 28% since their site redesign. On the crucial metric used by advertisers-page views-Last.fm is down over 31%.

    On that issue, my friend made the following interesting comment in his e-mail:
    Last.fm's page views are down over 30% from June 2008, the last month of their old Web site. The stock market hasn't dropped 30% and everyone is in a panic. It isn't hard to imagine that, if not panic, a damn concerned attitude is going on at Last.fm HQ. The only time you see 30+% drops in Web traffic in two months are when companies went out of business, which is where these guys are headed if they don't turn it around. I tell you, if our company had been hired to redesign a site and the page views were off that much two, three months later, we would not only be fired but probably sued to get our fee back! There is no way around the conclusion that the Web redesign they did at Last.fm is a disaster in the only metric that counts: traffic, because traffic means ad impressions and ad clicks and thus, ad revenue.
    There you have it.
  • Last.fm Web Traffic Down over 18% from June, over 22% from 2007

    Set 15 2008, 20:55

    I have been interested in how Last.fm has been faring since their July "redesign" since someone had posted awhile back that Alexa was showing a significant drop in Web traffic for Last.fm. As I mentioned in that thread, Alexa is not a comprehensive survey of Web use because it lacks a sound methodology. Though, fun fact: confirming what most of you know, Alex reports that last.fm is "Very Slow (96% of sites are faster)" - see for yourself - contradicting what the staff and moderators have been saying.

    A friend of mine works for an Internet design and marketing company. Their company subscribes to several firms, such as Nielsen, that track Web traffic for the Internet. These firms are sound in their methodology so I asked my friend to dig in and see what the experts are measuring for how the "redesign" has affected Last.fm's Web traffic. My friend was kind enough to oblige and forwarded the information from the August 2008 reports. I can't paste them here but can tell you what they say.

    All of you who have been thinking their is less activity on Last.fm lately are correct. Several independent measures show that on every measure of Web traffic - visitors, unique visitors, return visitors, page views, page views per visitor, and length of time spent on page - Last.fm in August 2008 had at least 18% lower Web traffic than in June 2008, the last full month with the old Last.fm site. In all but one measure, Last.fm in August 2008 had at least 22% lower Web traffic than the previous year, August 2007 (the other measure was down 19%). For a non-cyclical Web site (not dependent on time of year - nfl.com has a similar drop every January for obvious reasons) those are huge drops in Web traffic.

    This doesn't mean Last.fm is failing (yet) because it's Web traffic is still relatively high, but it does mean that many people have indeed left the site and are not returning; plus, it proves that the "everyone will get used to it" line repeated endlessly by the staff and moderators is wrong. Considering the biggest drops were in return visitors, page views per visitor, and time spent on page, it shows that though Last.fm is attracting some new visitors, it is not holding visitors' attention, even the new visitors. Advertiser's will notice those stats. One month does not make a trend and having purged a significant chunk of its members, Last.fm in time could attract enough new users to recover to its old traffic levels. Or, August's stats could be the start of a trend (Alexa indicated it is continuing in September)

    The Last.fm will downplay if not outright deny these stats and who can blame them - what else could they say. The moderators will make snide comments and eventually lock the thread because that's what they do. But, now you know the real effect of the last.fm site "redesign."

    Peace, out.
  • The Solution: An Open Source Scrobble Site

    Lug 26 2008, 13:44

    The may ban me for suggesting this but here it goes.

    Okay, Last.fm has shown little sign of caring about what its customers have to say. The new CBS corporate landlords are not going to change. So perhaps a new approach is in order.

    The main, if not only, reason any of us in this group have stayed is that there is not another Web site like Last.fm that is a community built around scrobbling of tracks. iLike.com is the only thing even close to my knowledge but it lacks the most important thing – charts based on YOUR artists, not their artists; like so many other music sites it exists to push mainstream mush down your throats. That’s what Facebook.fm, oops, I mean Last.fm, is becoming.

    The solution then is to create a site that has the functionality of Last.fm without the corporate BS. That would be an open source scrobbling site – a kind of Wikipedia-style project where the site exists by and for the community of users, not corporations. The technology is not that hard. The biggest obstacle would be the servers and bandwidth requirements, which I admit would be a large and costly obstacle. It would require raising money and a hell of a lot of planning, but the result of a true user-based music community would be incredible.

    I am not a technically savvy person so I can’t contribute in that area to such a project, but I want to throw the idea out there and see what happens. I know I’d pitch in some money to such a project.

    Thoughts?

    Discussion thread at: http://www.last.fm/group/Bring+back+the+old+Last.fm/forum/103555/_/438695
  • Library Track Listings Very Inaccurate

    Lug 22 2008, 0:37

    I know my station playlist really well and my scrobbling captures only what is actually Webcast on World Fusion Radio. So I know that the Library track listings on albums are very inaccurate. Here is just one example:

    http://www.last.fm/user/WorldFusionRadio_com/library/music/Sientific+American

    Though there is no note of over what timeframe these counts are, I know I have never played "Introduction" because it is not a full track, yet the Library says I played it 17 times. Six tracks from this artist I have played are not on the list, so it is missing over 150 plays on this artist alone just in the past nine months. The timeframe appears to be lifetime because my former profile WorldFusionRad, which I stopped using in Nov. 2007, still has tracks listed in that Library, though also inaccurate.

    I have noticed the same types of errors on every artist I have looked at. tracks I have never played in there, tracks I often play not, and artists I would never listen to included in my Library. So something is wrong in the database.
  • Last.fm is not handling the feedback well, IMHO

    Lug 18 2008, 17:21

    I find the defenses of the new layout curious. They basically come down to: "It's change" and "people always complain" and "you will get used to it in time" Not a convincing argument much less a constructive response.

    The outrage Last.fm is seeing is real and with substantial justification and they dismiss at their own peril. I have been a very heavy Internet user since 1994 back when we all thought an image tag was cool. I can say without hesitation that I have seldom if ever seen a new Web site design be less suited for the site's intended purpose. To make a simplistic analogy - it would be as if Google redesigned their site and made the search term entry box almost impossible to find. Now, maybe Last.fm's new corporate bosses have some radical new direction for the site :: shudder :: but I think it is fair to say that the reasons most people use the site - to discover new music and artists, has been hampered by the new site design.

    The problem with the new site design is far more than just not being able to like a new layout immediately. Anyone who says that all it is quite frankly is being insulting and a little ignorant and/or arrogant. The problem is the functionality of the new site design is horrible. See my Google analogy above. The new design makes Last.fm irrelevant for the majority of Last.fm users and their major use for Last.fm - to easily discover new music. The reality is that the vast majority of people will not suffer much inconvenience trying to get to where they want to go on a Web site (That's Web Design 101). People will just go to a different site.

    What made Last.fm the great and distinctive site it was was that within 15 seconds anyone could discover a new artist, a new song, or a new listener, who could lead them to more new songs, etc. It worked so well because the old Last.fm didn't overemphasize graphics or social networking gizmos. It was straight-forward love for musical diversity. Now, last.fm's new design makes that difficult and gives us instead inflated graphics, a very slow Web page that requires way too many scrolls to get to important information (That's Web Design 101 again), force-feeding of "here is your library, no you can't edit it" and "here is your music playlist, oh did we forget to mention you have to pay for it now?", and make it almost impossible to communicate with and meet other members.

    And for what? No straight answer given by last.fm other than "it's new, it's great." Why? A company may love its product to death but if the company's customers don't love it, the company will die. (That's Business 101) That Last.fm seems to be doing nothing but poo-pooing the massive outpouring of dislike (dare I say hatred) for the new site design with "it's change" and "people always complain" and "you will get used to it in time" is bizarre. Many people have expressed that the response and the whole rollout shows ignorance and arrogance on last.fm's part.

    Whether Last.fm is truly ignorant, arrogant, or so callously uncaring about its customer's opinions is beside the point. The narrative and belief that that is Last.fm's attitude is starting to take hold and Last.fm is ignoring that at its own peril. That over 3,500 (and counting) people have already joined a group demanding the return of the Old Last.fm is not, as one last.fm moderator has said, "irrelevant." Last.fm would be wise to craft a better response.

    Respectfully,
    Douglas
  • After 3 years, Must I Now Leave Last.fm?

    Lug 17 2008, 21:58

    Um, why change the site?

    Wow, this new layout is ridiculous, ugly, horrible, crappy, awful, hideous, and just plain bad. What the hell is this nonsense? I use Last.fm heavily to meet artists and listeners. I am seriously rethinking that now if this is how awful Last.fm is going to look and behave now. What idiot Web designer with a MySpace fetish told last.fm this would be a good idea? And why was Last.fm listening???? Oh, and I am sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I really don't appreciate having this shoved down my throat.

    I agree with several people's comments – this is the death of Last.fm. They were a distinctive site, so much easier to use and be a part of than any other networking site and the emphasis was on the music itself. Now, they have decided to become just like MySpace and Facebook, de-emphasize the music itself, and lower everything to the level of teenagers swapping pics and tracks. What’s next? Special mood ratings and “what I’m doing now”? Ugh. Yeah, if this stays, last.fm will die, another victim of corporate marketers who care only about chasing the lowest common denominators rather than crate original content.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! The old last.fm was wonderful - this new layout is garbage. I am very disappointed and won't be renewing my subscription and will stop using the site entirely if they don't switch back to the previous layout.

    DJ ProFusion (Douglas)
  • Return of the Asian Massive Tour

    Giu 25 2008, 2:29

    Six Degrees Records has just announced the Return of the Asian Massive Tour with Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale. It is an abbreviated tour with only nine dates spread across North America. If you are lucky enough to be in one of the metro areas you definitely have to catch this show with two of the best world fusion acts going. The last date, being on Cheb I Sabbah's home turf, has him joining in. Now that's pure nirvana.

    Tour Dates
    June 26th - SOB's - New York, NY
    June 28th - MassMoca - North Adams, MA
    July 4th - Rock n Roll Hotel - Washington DC
    July 8th - World Cafe - Philadelphia, PA
    July 19th - Celebrate Brooklyn - Brooklyn, NY
    July 20th - Concert of Colors - Detroit, MI
    July 24th - Masti Masala - Toronto, ON Canada
    July 25th - Martyrs - Chicago, IL
    August 1st - 1015 Folsom - San Francisco, CA. with Cheb i Sabbah
  • Earth Hour - 8pm your time Tonight!

    Mar 29 2008, 18:55

    On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

    Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

    Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

    One hour. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!

    Earth Hour Web SIte
  • Initial Impressions of Gods and Monsters

    Mar 28 2008, 23:04

    Just received my advanced copy of the new "Gods and Monsters" tracks from the publicist. Street date is April 22. Interesting stuff. Much more vocal oriented than Juno Reactor has been in the past and also surprisingly orchestral and "prog rock." The instrumentation is mostly strings, guitars, and acoustic drums not synths. Definitely a departure but open minded people will find things to like here.

    "Tanta Pena" is one of the few tracks that evoke the "psy-trance" Juno Reactor most people are familiar with. "Las Vegas Future Past" is eerie goth/industrial, reminiscent of "Beyond The Infinite." "Inca Steppe" is also heavy on the electronic trance music except it is layered with a loungy female vocal; good combination. "Tokyo Dub," "Mind of the Free," "Perfect Crime," and "Pretty Girl" are dark, almost ambient in texture. "City of the Sinful" has the same feel but decidedly funked up. Meanwhile, "Immaculate Crucifixion" is guitar-oriented prog-rock.

    Overall I think this will open Juno Reactor to new audiences. People demanding only more of the same may be disappointed, but the sign of a great artist is allowing evolution to take place. This, Juno reactor has done.