What is ‘Scrobbling’ on Last.fm and how does it work?

What is ‘Scrobbling’ on Last.fm and how does it work?

  • Last.fm keeps track of which songs and artists you listen to through a process called “scrobbling.”
  • “Scrobble” is a made-up word that simply refers to the way Last.fm records your listening habits.
  • Every time you listen to a song, Last.fm “scrambles” that song and adds it to your account.

All words are made up. But it’s rare for a website to create a word and have millions of users and dozens of major companies start using it, like Last.fm and “scrobbling.”

Last.fm uses ‘scrobbling’ to track the music you listen to

Open any app with Last.fm integration and you’ll see the word “scrobble” more times than you can count. At this point, it’s probably more recognizable than the name “Last.fm”.

In brief, “scrobble” is just the word Last.fm uses to describe how it automatically keeps track of what music you listen to and when. The act of tracking your music with Last.fm is called “scrobbling,” and apps that connect to Last.fm are sometimes called “scrobblers.”

When you listen to a song, Last.fm scrapes the song by recording the song title, artist, genre, and when you heard it. All this information is stored in your account and Last.fm uses it both to create lists of your favorite songs (both recent and all-time) and to recommend new ones.

A list of songs on Last.fm that have been

Your Last.fm profile will display a list of your most recently scrubbed songs.

Last.fm? William Antonelli/Insider



But it should be noted that just playing a song is not enough to scrub it. Depending on the Last.fm app you’re using, you’ll need to listen to anywhere between half the song or the whole song before Last.fm signs and adds it to your listening history. Pausing the song for long periods of time can prevent Last.fm from scraping it as well.

There is no official record of how the word “scroblo” came about. Last.fm co-creator Richard Jones first created a music recommendation system called “Audioscrobbler” while studying at the University of Southampton, and Last.fm still uses an updated version of this system to capture your music preferences .

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