I really dig last.fm. Starting at 2003 as a computer science project the original idea of Audioscrobbler evolved to, IMHO, one of the best social experiences of the web.
I consider myself a good user of last.fm. My profile lists 22k+ scrobbled audio tracks since 2006, and I have signed the monthly subscription several times — not that I consider the subscription advantages worthy, but I should support the projects I love.
Somewhere during the last week I realized I follow a semi-regular pattern when using last.fm. Here’s a diagram that explains it (I don’t needed to do this, but it was a good oportunity to test OminGrafle 5 :P)
I first start with my own pool of music and listen to it over and over again. When I get tired or want to try something new, I pick the best artist/album from my local storage and go to last.fm searching for “related artists”. I usually spent one week or so on this state, bookmarking all the new songs I loved. I then analyze the list, selecting the new albums, expanding my local storage, and then I go back to the first stage to enjoy the music.
As the time goes by, I’m constantly expanding my music taste and variety (yeah, we can argue about that). So thank you last.fm for all the good things you brought to my musical life :)
Don’t forget to check out their API if you want to build your own producer, or build smart consumers that mine your musical data to build mind blowing graphs. Also, they have a beautiful open source client here I learned a lot about Qt4.