Gathan Beaga

this weekend's pointless project...

…was to get reacquainted with Last.fm, the social music site. I’d signed up not long after the Last.fm / AudioScrobbler merger in 2006, but couldn’t get it to work nicely with my then iPod. So I switched to Mog.com.

Anyway, for whatever silly reason I decided it was time to switch back. And again, for no really good reason I wanted all the music play counts accumulated in the last two years to turn up in my Last.fm account.

Ignoring all the weather outside (some of which was actually quite good) I fearlessly wrestled with iTunes; the Last.Fm client; and various preference files, log files, and assorted other ephemera. I may report that:

  • historic iTunes play counts can only be imported to brand new accounts only; not to accounts you may have opened years ago and not used; and not even to new accounts that just happen to have the same username as the old account you deleted 24 hours previously. You’ll need to open a new account. But try not to spend too much time obsessing about finding a username that’s a) not taken; and b) reflects your own vanity ineffable nature.
  • if your iTunes folder is in an unexpected place then your historic play counts will not be imported to your new account. In fact, /Users/Shared/, which seemed like a good place to put the music because then your computer’s users could all use it, proved impossible for Last.fm to find.
  • once you move your iTunes music folders to meet with the expectations of the Last.fm client importing still does not happen. When you check the console log files you’ll see that the client application is still looking in the old place for the music (oh yes – it apparently did know where the music was, it just couldn’t do anything with it). It turns out that deleting the iTunes preferences in ~/Library/Preferences, and getting iTunes to create a new preferences file, seems to clear up this problem.
  • Of course, once you fix this it still doesn’t work, because even the act of unsuccessfully trying to import play counts (as you did previously) seems to have the effect of making it impossible to import anything later. So you need to open another new account.
  • after overcoming your annoyance at having to choose yet another username, you may then import all the play counts.

And so I have a shiny new Last.fm account. What a bloody waste of time. I need to find a series of more productive fleeting obsessions, I think.

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