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Easy ways to keep track of your music and movies

We show you how to track your multimedia and even get recommendations based on your viewing / listening habits

With ever-increasing internet bandwidth and ever-expanding FUP limits, access to multimedia content is never a problem these days. We literally have access to hundreds of thousands of songs, TV episodes and movies. You have legit streaming sources as well as illegal sources of content which have helped you amass terabytes of content. The problem isn’t access but rather organisation. How do you keep track of what you’ve watched, what you’ve heard, what you are planning on watching etc? It can get pretty confusing. Often you’ll find yourself scrubbing through an episode to figure out if you’ve seen it yet. Fret not, we’ll help you avoid all that. Let’s start with tracking music and getting recommendations.

Last.fm for Audio

Last.fm is a powerful tool to track all the music that you consume across multiple platforms in one place. How does that benefit you? You get to understand your own music taste better along with getting great recommendations from the tool itself. At the very basic level it appears to be a pretty ordinary music streaming tool – just enter the name of your artist and get listening to a mix of their songs. So what’s this all about? Let’s find out.

Last.fm is a powerful tool to track all the music that you consume across multiple platforms in one place. How does that benefit you? You get to understand your own music taste better along with getting great recommendations from the tool itself. At the very basic level it appears to be a pretty ordinary music streaming tool – just enter the name of your artist and get listening to a mix of their songs. So what’s this all about? Let’s find out.

Adding services

So one of the most powerful uses of Last.fm is something known as Scrobbling – when you listen to a song on some platform, details about that song are sent to another service – in this case, Last.fm – and added to your profile. This, in turn, provides Last.fm more data to understand your taste and suggest music to you more accurately. Before we proceed any further, you can head to Last.fm and create an account to try out these steps. Here are some quick steps on how to succesfully scrobble your music from several platforms onto Last.fm, to generate accurate data about your music taste.

Spotify

  • Open Spotify preferences on Spotify by going to Edit>Preferences
  • Simply, check the “Scrobble to Last.fm” box and enter your Last.fm username and password.
  • Now anything you listen to on Spotify will be added to your Last.fm profile. Anyone can check out your profile at last.fm/user/[username] and go through your music taste.

Desktop

Whether you’re on a Mac, a Windows or a Linux platform, all you need to do is download the respective Scrobbler application and install it. The plugin will be running in the background to track the music that you play on native music players like the Windows media player or iTunes. For a Mac, even the music that you listen to on your iPod, iPad or iPhone eventually gets synced to your iTunes library and consequently, to your Last.fm account.

Multimedia tracking
Last.fm has desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Web

Even when you’re generally browsing the web and listening to music on Youtube, Soundcloud or other websites, you can scrobble them to your Last.fm account if you have the Last fm Scrobbler extension installed.

Multimedia tracking
The Chrome extension Last.fm Scrobbler works with many popular services

Once the extension is installed, Click on the notification to open the login page on Last.fm and then allow the service access to your profile. You’re all set!

Android and iOS

  • Install the Last.fm app
  • Login with your account credentials
  • Go to Settings and enable Scrobbling for all apps in the list including ‘Other music apps’

Apart from these, Last.fm’s API can scrobble from a lot of services. Feel free to try them out on your own.

Supercharge Spotify with Last.fm

Last.fm’s scrobbling service leaves nothing to complain about while Spotify’s recommendation service could use some help. Fortunately, if you’re using Spotify there’s a neat tool to help you – Spotibot. Spotibot offers a range of Last.fm related services to make Last.fm work better with your Spotify account. For example –

  • Use the headline feature to enter the name of any artist and generate a related playlist.
  • Enter your Last.fm username to generate a playlist based on your listening history.
  • Once you have a playlist, drag an on screen icon onto Spotify to play it.
  • Receive recommended Spotify songs via twitter.
  • Transfer Last.fm’s loved tracks to Spotify playlist.

Use Last.fm extra stats to visualise your music taste

Using Last.fm data to visualise your music taste is a common use of Last.fm’s API. There’s an easy to use tool known as Extra stats that lets you do that on Windows. Simply download the app here, and get going! If you’re on Linux or Mac you can request your graphs on the same page. Another service that does this in an even more detailed way is My Music Habits.

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The taste for music!

Get Wallpaper and Screensavers by using Last.fm data

There are numerous uses to which Last.fm data can be put but this has to be one of the most interesting. What if you could use your music tastes to generate wallpapers and screensaver for your Windows PC? Turns out you can. Use Gijsco’s Desktop Generator for the wallpaper and Music Quilt Screensaver for, well, the screensaver, by just entering your Last.fm username. These two services are Windows only, although there are more you can find online.

And all the cool things

Last.fm is much more than a mere song tracking and recommendation engine. Head over to Last.fm and you will category-wise implementations of different extentions of the Last.fm API. There are standalone desktop radio players, plugins for blogs and social networks, and more options for showing off your listening trends using all kinds of crazy charts. There’s the Last.fm Firefox Extension, which is similar to PandoraFM in that it submits your Pandora tracks to Last.fm; LastGraph, a wave generator for your Last.fm songs; Last.fm Reverse Neighbours, a tool that finds users that have you listed as their neighbor (which is Last.fm’s method to let you follow users on its platform); Last.fm Desktop Generator, which generates a cool desktop for you based on your Last.fm playlists, and the official Last.fm widgets, which basically allow you to embed your playlist on your site or blog.

Trakt.tv for movies and TV shows

Just like Last.fm can scrobble your music, Trakt.tv can scrobble your tv shows and movies. And just like Last.fm, Trakt itself does not stream content but mainly shows you where you can find content. And a lot more. Read on to find out all that you can do with it.

Build your watched history

The easiest way to do this is scrobbling from your media centre. Trakt officially supports Kodi, Plex, Netflix and more. And most of the plugins from these services analyse the watched history of the media centre as well, and sync everything back to your account. This comes very handy if you’ve been always using a media centre for your media consumption.

When you’re not watching something online, you can still do a check-in via the trakt.tv website or the mobile app. These are referred to ask manual scrobbles. Apart from this you can also manually click the purple check marks on all trakt platforms – website and app – for any movie or TV show that you have seen.

See Stats

Based on your history, Trakt shows you some useful stats on its own. On the platform, there are buttons which will dynamically update to give you stats and progress info. When viewing an episode or movie summary page, you’ll see the play count and the most recent date and time you watched the item. The view all link displays a full history of every time you watched the episode or movie. Shows and seasons provide progress info including the percentage watched, episodes watched, and episodes remaining. The view plays link displays a full history of every time you watched the show or season.

Use Trakt through apps

Trakt works on a number of third party apps as well to offer you a host of features. When you go to a theater to watch a movie, fire up Movist and check in to what you’re watching. The app also syncs up plays from all your other connected devices. If you’re watching TV shows, use SeriesGuide or iShows 2 to easily track where you’re at. There are apps for all the major platforms available, so try a few to find what you like best. Thanks to the community support you won’t fall short of choices on the implementations.

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Trakt has the coolest 404 error page ever

Get trakt on Kodi

This is how you can download and install the trakt plugin on Kodi.

  • Open Kodi (please make sure you’re on the latest version)
  • Select SYSTEM>Add-ons>Select Search> type in trakt>press enter or click Done
  • Select Script — Trakt>Select Install
  • Wait for the Add-on enabled message in the bottom right corner of your screen.

After installing the plugin, it should popup with instructions on how to connect your Trakt.tv account. If you don’t see this, then follow these steps:

  • Choose Configure in the Trakt.tv add-on information screen, then choose How do I authorize. An 8 digit code will be displayed.
  • Go to trakt.tv on your laptop, desktop, or mobile device. If you’re already signed into the Trakt.tv website, you’ll see the screen below asking for the code displayed in Kodi.
  • Click YES to allow Trakt for Kodi to access your Trakt.tv account.
  • Return to Kodi after you see the success message.

Configure the Kodi plugin

After connecting your Trakt.tv account, Kodi will refresh and display the plugin configuration screen.

General

Notice in the top User line, it displays your connected username on the right side. If you want to re-connect to another Trakt.tv account, go through the connection steps again.

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Use the exclusions to avoid unwanted shows and movies being scrobbled

Exclusions

If you’d like to ignore items from being scrobbled to Trakt.tv, you can do that in this tab. Excluding HTTP sources means any streaming content will be ignored. Exclude specific paths if you’d like ignore local media from being scrobbled. For example, ignore any shows your kids are watching so they don’t scrobble to your Trakt.tv account.

These are the most popular services that you’ll need to track. Both of them are highly community driven, so anything that we might have missed out, you’ll definitely find it online, along with documentation. In fact, you could even build your own implementation! If you do, let us know at editor@digit.in.

This article was first published in the January 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee