Pop quiz, pop-pickers: what do you get if you cross one of the most popular ways of discovering music online with one of the most popular ways of listening to music online? Spotify's new app store and the Last.fm app, that's what.
Spotify announced its new direction as an app platform today. Music-related services will run within the Spotify app itself -- apps within apps -- so you can listen to your tunes then explore the artists and music from different angles. Last.fm is one of the first apps available for Spotify, super-charging discovery of new music with custom playlists and personalised recommendations all within Spotify itself. And thanks to our buddies at Last.fm, we've tried it out. Here's how it works.
When you get a new app it appears in the left-hand sidebar of Spotify. Click on the app and the app will appear in the right-hand part of the Spotify screen, where your list of music appears. Your playlists on the left, the search and back buttons at the top, and the now playing bar at the bottom all stay where they are.
Drag a song from your Spotify library into the Last.fm app icon in the sidebar, and it will automatically create a playlist of 20 tracks similar to that tune or artist -- a bit like the rather clever iTunes Genius. You don't even have to have a Last.fm account, but if you do you can benefit from personalised recommendations too.
The more you use Last.fm, the more it gets to know your tastes by 'scrobbling' -- tracking the music you listen to in iTunes or Spotify. Based on that data, Last.fm recommends music it thinks you'll like. If you're a long-term Last.fm user, your profile, the stuff you've loved and all your scrobbling data will be right there in the app -- and if you're new, sign up and get scrobbling for personalised recommendations.
Spotify recently completed its long-awaited launch in the US, and despite concerns over the amount of money that filters back to artists from online streaming it's amassed more than 2.5 million paying subscribers around the world. You can also sign up for free, although if you pay there are no ads and no limits to the amount of music you can play, and a mobile app that lets you save music to your phone or tablet.
Other cool apps for the new Spotify app platform include Rolling Stone, Songkick, the Guardian, and Pitchfork. Which apps have got you excited? What do you think of the Spotify app store? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.
- Last.fm is also owned by CBS Interactive, the parent company of CNET UK. Spotify is nothing to do with us, we just think it's cool.