Scrobbler is a replacement for the Music app that comes with iOS devices, which enables your music plays to be ‘scrobbled’ to last.fm. Scrobbling the music you play allows last.fm to build up a profile of your musical taste, so that it can suggest new bands and artists that you may wish to try. Normally, to scrobble music plays on iOS devices, you have to wait until you have synchronised your device with iTunes on the desktop, whereas this app will scrobble in real-time.
However, Scrobbler isn’t just a basic music player – it also adds a number of extra useful features that Apple’s own Music app doesn’t offer. On the ‘now playing’ screen, you can tap the ‘i’ button to view information about the artist or band, including a biography, how popular they are, how many times you have listened to them and shortcuts to other music you own by them. There’s a share button to let your Facebook and Twitter friends know what you’re playing, and the big ‘Play similar music’ will do just what it says in the same way that Genius does in iTunes.
Popping out of the now playing screen, using the ‘full screen’ button, lets you browse your music library. Artists and Tracks can be sorted both alphabetically but also by how much you have listened to them that week. On the Playlists screen, you can view the Playlists you’ve created in iTunes, but you can also use its ‘Smart’ playlists which it creates. On my iPhone, it provided me with ‘high energy’, ‘strong dance beat’, ‘punchy dynamics’, ‘fast’, ‘happy’, ‘slow’ and ‘low energy’ – make of that what you will. It also offers playlists based on the most common tags that your artists have on last.fm – usually these are genres but it also gave me ‘female vocalists’, ‘British’ and ’90s’.
Finally the albums screen also includes a Recommendations tab, where last.fm will suggest albums that you may wish to buy together with convenient links to the iTunes Store.
Scrobbler has been out for a little while but the first version had a number of bugs which meant that I couldn’t recommend it. However, version 1.1 was released yesterday and now works better, to the point at which I’m comfortable using it as my primary music player on my iPhone. It serves as a handy companion to last.fm’s main app which is more aimed at discovering new music, rather than listening to music you already own.