What is a scrobble? Actually it’s not a what. “Scrobble” is the term used when you transfer details about a song that you are listening / have listened to into a back-end database using the Audioscrobbler recommendation system used by Last.fm. Ok, that’s the short explanation and if you want more then you can go search for it. 🙂
The problem with the initial pass of this system is that you could only scrobble files as you listened to them. This meant you had to be connected to the last.fm site while you were jamming out. So what if I listen to most of my music on the road via my iPod? There were a couple of plugins that promised this functionality, but I never bothered while I was working from home because it generally didn’t matter if I missed scrobbling a few tunes while I jogged with my iPod Nano. However, now I’m commuting to a job that is an hour’s drive away. Different story.
Not Quite There
The Last.fm client actually implemented iPod scrobbling in their last update. This sounded just like what I needed. I updated the Last.fm client and restarted my system. I then attached one of my iPods to my computer. The Last.fm client recognized it and asked if I wanted to scrobble tunes from that iPod. Sweet! Oh wait a second… after reading the instructions (fine print) it appears that I have to set my iPod on auto sync for the whole iPod in order for this to work. Well, this just won’t do. Why? For starters my music library spans about 100Gig. Yeah, there’s no iPod in existence that can handle that much music. Plus I have two iPods, one for running and one for the road. This situation necessitates that I choose to manually update my tunes.
After some searching through the forums on Last.fm I found what I was looking for. There is a plugin called iSproggler which says it can sync my iPods, even if they are manually updated. Plus thanks to a user named Kupuntu there is a very easy tutorial on who to set this up with your manually updated iPod. This plugin uses the Recently Played smart playlist to determine which tunes from your iPod(s) need to be scrobbled. I still had to setup my iPods to sync, but I just chose which playlists to keep in sync and made sure to select the Recently Played playlist. This isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it is something I can definitely work with. One problem I ran into that you might also have if you use two iPods is this. My iPod Nano is used only for running/jogging and it only has a capacity of 2Gig. My U2 Edition iPod has 20Gig and I use it for my daily drives and at-work listening. The problem? Well, I’m syncing the Recently Played list to both of them, which puts any tunes that I’ve recently listed to on both iPods. I realized this the first time I went to sync my iPod Nano and it ran out of disk space. 🙁 Luckily you can tweak the settings of your Recently Played smart playlist to keep less songs in it. Just make sure you keep it high enough to cover all of the songs you’ll listen to in a day and you’re set!
I still wish I had a system that worked without syncing my Recently Played tunes to both iPods, but oh well. For now I am happy that all the tunes I listen to on the road, at work and while jogging are getting scrobbled to my Last.fm account. Why is this so important to me? I don’t know… it’s just cool. Are any of you using two iPods with Last.fm? Have you found another solution that might be better? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by my blog!