Recently I wrote an article about the creation of a new web service called Libre.fm, I’d like to fill you in on some of the developments since then. I was fortunate enough to get some input at the time from Matt Lee, instigator of the project. Libre.fm is a free network service aimed at replacing Last.fm initially but also going beyond that to develop unique features of it’s own. The service is still in alpha at the moment but it’s developing really quickly. I’ve been impressed by it’s progress and the developer mailing list is packed with action every day. There seems to be a real appetite for an AGPL web service of this kind. In the short time since I first wrote about it the Libre.fm project has picked names for it’s components. The server back end will be called GNUkebox and the client is to be dubbed Nixtape (sorry for the terrible pun). Slightly odd names perhaps but I particularly like Nixtape. According to the Libre.fm development road map as of May 4th (Star Wars day) the service has 4000 users and 3 million plays have already been submitted. That’s pretty staggering for something that only began a few weeks ago.
On a personal note, I’ve managed to get everything set up on my desktop and I’m now reporting tracks to Libre.fm. I’ve also imported all of my data from Last.fm. You can see my Libre.fm account at http://alpha.libre.fm/user/MethodDan/ and marvel at my eclectic musical tastes. I use Rhythmbox as my primary music player and in order to submit tracks to Libre.fm I had to do a little hack on my hosts file. Now, this may seem daunting but really it’s pretty simple. I do hope more user friendly tools will be developed for Libre.fm in future but it’s still in it’s infancy and for now this works. Here’s what you need to do (these instructions are for Linux users but there are tips for all operating systems in the wiki):
- Sign up or an account with Libre.fm by going to the website
- Next you need to modify your hosts file to point at the Libre.fm scrobbler, it’s located at /etc/hosts
- Open a terminal and type sudo nano /etc/hosts to edit the file with Nano EDIT: new users may prefer to use gedit or kate like so sudo gedit /etc/hosts
- Add the line 188.8.131.52 post.audioscrobbler.com near the top, the exact position doesn’t matter but below the 2 localhost entries is a good spot
- Save the file and close the terminal
- Make sure you have your last.fm plugin or whatever you use to submit to last.fm now set with the right username and password for your new Libre.fm account
- Listen to some music (the best step)
You should see your track list being populated on the website. Not too difficult but as I said an automated tool to fix this in future would be great. Most end users don’t want to have to edit config files it seems. It’s being worked on and the developers are doing a great job.
The other thing I did was to export all my listening data from Last.fm with the tools suggested on the ideas wiki, the instructions there are very clear and I recommend them. The basic process involves using lastscrape.py to copy all your plays out of Last.fm into a text file. From there you can use another script called import.py to send them to Libre.fm in batches of 50. The whole process took a while for me with over 10,000 plays to export but after about an hour it was complete.
So now all my tracks are going to Libre.fm and I’m pretty happy with that. The project is taking shape really quickly and new features are being added all the time, I think exciting times lie ahead. When I told a friend recently tat Libre.fm had only been going for just over a month they didn’t believe me, that says it all hehe