How Last.Fm Brought Cheating Upon Itself


27 fév. 2007, 21h53m

I'm sure everyone who has browsed around Last.Fm for more than 5 minutes has noticed the Weekly Top Fans section of artist pages. I have two suggestions for, and hopefully one of them will be taken:
1. Randomize the weekly top fans like the friends list.
2. Change the title of the section to "Weekly Top Chart Cheaters."

Popular artists on obviously generate many more plays per week than unpopular ones, so to become a top fan, one must listen to tons of a particular artist. Or, rather, not listen. Look at the page for any popular artist (2Pac, Drop Dead, Gorgeous, and even Miles Davis [It may seem plausible to have 500 plays in a week, but Miles Davis songs are typically over 15 minutes, sometimes getting close to 30 minutes long.]) It's just ridiculous. How is this even a valuable feature to have on the website other than giving me a chuckle trying to guess how many days in a row they left an album on repeat until they got their 3,000 weekly plays of that single artist?

People may give the argument that they're actually on the computer long enough to listen to that much music. 3,000 plays in one week? Something tells me you'd have to be on the computer for more than a week if you plan on sleeping some of those nights.

I was asked while writing this, "won't people just assume you picked out some artists that people cheat on? how will they know that those artists represent a whole rather than just a selected few?" Well, answering that is simple. I have four simple steps for you to follow.
1) Go to this page:
(Direct artist links: Fall Out Boy, Snow Patrol, Muse, Bloc Party, The Postal Service, The Killers, Oasis, The Fray, My Chemical Romance, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Radiohead, Coldplay, Nirvana, Metallica, and Death Cab for Cutie)
2) Pick any artist listed
3) Look at the weekly charts for the top listeners.
4) Scoff.

As I suspected, I could not find a single one of those #1 fans that I wasn't suspicious of cheating their plays. It's just hard to believe, and somewhat disheartening. The current top fan system doesn't allow for people who actually like the artists enough to listen to entire songs to get a spot in the top fans section. After all, what does a cheater do for the community other than bog down the system by scrobbling 10 or 15 times more than what they actually listen to? How will I know which albums to check out if the plays for one album are skewed because they were left on repeat? This could potentially limit me from getting better albums, thus making it more difficult for me to find artists I enjoy.

Last.Fm, please do something about the top fans. I feel that the current top fan system encourages cheating of charts, and it would do nothing but good for the community if you changed the system. If cheating was no longer rewarded as it currently is, perhaps users would not do it as frequently, thus bringing down the number of scrobbles, which in turn would speed up the website.

Thoughts, anyone?


  • westside05

    i agree that a lot of people cheat, but i just find it hard to understand why someone would do that? i mean, you don't get anything for being the top listener, so why?

    27 fév. 2007, 22h27m
  • vertigoofbliss_

    yeah exactly, i find it hard to understand too. you dont get anything from being a top-listener, and the people that do it will have nonsensical, pointless charts... so why have it at all?

    27 fév. 2007, 22h38m
  • jarmac

    100% Agreed, I don't know what satisfaction these people get by being on of the tops fans. I don't even look at the top fans pages. These days people charts aren't even a good indication of their music taste.

    27 fév. 2007, 22h58m
  • Jimerus

    Ah. You're totally correct there. They really need to fiddle around with the system.

    27 fév. 2007, 23h13m
  • rever

    Well, sometimes people go on with their friends like I like this band more tha you! Hahahaha! and so on. My friend's computer is on 24h a day and so is the winamp. It's like this, you see xP.

    27 fév. 2007, 23h13m
  • benthepirate

    @jarmac... I like your last point there. I agree in many cases. @rever... Did you ever ask your friend why they do that? If so and they gave a valid answer (or, I suppose, an invalid one would also be interesting) I would like to hear why they do it. @anyone else reading this... if you know why people do this other than the obvious reason of having their name on their favorite artist's page, then please inform me.

    27 fév. 2007, 23h55m
  • Televiper

    Some people just need the attention I guess. Like the top listener for Red Hot Chili Peppers has 100,000 listens since Feb 2006. I've got almost 40,000 tracks after being on since August 2005. I'm sure the 45 second tracks I listen to have balanced out the 15-30 minute tracks I've listened to. I tend to listen to music in every waking hour except for when I'm at work.

    28 fév. 2007, 2h14m
  • Tiggrrr

    I cheat a little. I'm not out to make the top artist lists, although I may have made a couple for obscure artists (where four plays in a week might do it). I do leave my computer on fairly often, with or without sound, playing music, but it's playing the same dynamic playlist that I always listen to. It just allowed me to accumulate listening data a little faster. No, I don't have any interest in trying to prove that I'm Death Cab for Cutie's greatest fan.

    28 fév. 2007, 3h34m
  • hellomoto27

    I have been on the top for MCR this week, but I just play my music while at my computer or doing homework in my room with my computer. I realize that I do spend a bit too much time on my computer, but I certainly do not cheat to make the top listeners.

    28 fév. 2007, 5h00m
  • LevelCommander

    That's a good thought, I can see where you base your implications; but I seem to be one of the weekly top listeners of the band Muse, and I can tell you with a sincere, clean mind, that I listen to them 24/7. Whether it's on my iPod, my speakers on my computer at home, my laptop at my office, or my studio on the recording job, it's always playing. Enough that it dwarfs the others on my list to near non-existent proportions. It's not fake, and it certainly isn't a joke or a scam. What do I have to prove from this? I just use this site to show my friends what I listen to. Whether or not you people choose to believe someone's musical influence is up to you.

    28 fév. 2007, 5h20m
  • LevelCommander

    Another interesting thing is that I didn't realize I was on the top people until I had odd people sending me friend requests. I wondered why they were all from the UK. How odd. :P

    28 fév. 2007, 5h22m
  • benthepirate

    @LevelCommander ... How is playing that music if you're not actually listening to it representative of what you actually listen to for music? The idea of is to track what you listen to... Plus, with almost 16,000 plays on your top artist already, why is it necessary to plug them into your top spot of your weekly charts every week? I think anyone can tell that you like them with such a disproportionate percentage of plays going to them.

    28 fév. 2007, 5h56m
  • xuelee

    It's funny. I used to really care about my weekly charts and how many plays I was generating until I hit about 20,000 tracks and... it doesn't really seem that important anymore. For an average listener, the overall charts don't really change that much after you accumulate a certain number of plays. And that's why I think people who go out of their way to cheat are just weird and in urgent need of something I like to call a life.

    28 fév. 2007, 7h59m
  • bossponkan

    just [b]scrapping[/b[ the stupid top fans feature. Some people argue that this is the only way that they can find the other listeners of some obscure band which they like. In that case, it's better to just feature random listeners, similar to what the journal's owner wrote.

    28 fév. 2007, 8h05m
  • bossponkan

    Sorry about the bold text. Somehow, I made a mistake in the code.

    28 fév. 2007, 8h06m
  • sarracenia

    who cares?

    28 fév. 2007, 11h48m
  • benthepirate

    @xuelee... I agree. That happened to me too once I got that many plays. I cared so little, in fact, that I reset my charts completely, wiping away almost a year's worth of listening data. @bossponkan... I wouldn't be opposed to scrapping the entire system, as you suggested. Although I can see how top listeners would be a good method to finding similar artists. (If someone is opposed to using the similar artist panel.) @sarracenia... not you.

    28 fév. 2007, 15h32m
  • clemens1986

    get a life...

    28 fév. 2007, 18h47m
  • benthepirate

    @fghtffyrpls... Yeah, sometimes the similar artist panel isn't similar at all; I agree with you on that one. I am interested in how Pandora does the similar artists. Some day I might check out that website just to see how they do it, although overall I think Last.Fm is a better site. @clemens1986... I will take that into consideration. Thank you for that brilliant idea.

    28 fév. 2007, 19h05m
  • kristierules

    clemens1986 sure has some innovative ideas. i'm impressed. ha.

    28 fév. 2007, 19h51m
  • Sundrinker

    here here....but who gives a fuck?

    28 fév. 2007, 20h08m
  • Sundrinker

    here here....but who gives a fuck?

    28 fév. 2007, 20h08m
  • mimine101

    I sometimes leave the computer playing music all night but that's because I like to listen to music before I sleep not because I'm trying to cheat. I'm almost never top listener for anything so I couldn't care less. I do check out top listeners though sometimes esp. for oobscure bands so I can see how some users might want the attention.

    28 fév. 2007, 20h15m
  • Levi0522

    Weekly Top Chart Cheaters thought that was funny haha. i can't be bothered with reading all the comments on this tho but yeah i agree with your point. i see peeps do it all the time like they get rewarded for it or something lol.

    28 fév. 2007, 20h38m
  • benthepirate

    @mimine101 ... You could turn off your scrobbler then when you plan on sleeping, if you wanted to not count since you're not listening to it.

    28 fév. 2007, 23h05m
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