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  • 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 last.fm, and hopefully one of them will be taken:
    1. Randomize the weekly top fans like the friends list.
    or
    2. Change the title of the section to "Weekly Top Chart Cheaters."

    Popular artists on last.fm 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: http://www.last.fm/charts/
    (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 last.fm 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 last.fm 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?