scRYMble: last.fm & vinyl
There's this site called last.fm. If you like music and data then you probably know all about it. I love music and data.
The idea is last.fm keeps a record of every song you play. They call it scrobbling, which is a strangely satisfying word for the concept.
When I discovered the site I was immediately enthralled, and discouraged almost as quickly. I realized right away that a significant amount of my music would not be trackable with the tools they provide.
I have a lot of vinyl. I found a bunch in my dad's garage long after he'd switched to digital. All the great stuff from the 70s. Pink Floyd, Bowie, Zeppelin... 300 records or so in total. In the dozen years since, the collection's tripled in size and expanded in scope far beyond the one decade when my parents actually cared about music.
So there was no way I'd use last.fm unless if I could capture what LPs I listened to.
Fortunately, I'm a computer scientist by profession, and I realized this was a problem I could solve myself. So I did. All I needed was a comprehensive source of practically every album ever released and their tracklists.
Have I ever talked about Rate Your Music before? It's a great site. I love it. It's the IMDb of albums. It's all there.
One weekend later, scRYMble was basically done. In case it's more obvious to me than everyone else, the name's a portmanteau of scrobble and the acronym of Rate Your Music. It's not pretty, but it works. This is how you set it up:
- If you haven't already, install Mozilla Firefox.
- If you haven't already, install GreaseMonkey as a plugin inside Firefox.
- Install scRYMble as a Greasemonkey user script.
Then, to use it:
- visit Rate Your Music in Firefox.
- Search for the album you're about to listen to (or just listened to).
- Visit the release page for that album.
- Type in the last.fm username and password in the box embedded within the page.
- Click "Scrobble in real-time" or "Scrobble a previous play".
It's not officially associated with Rate Your Music, and as a result, it's prone to breaking whenever the site's layout is updated. Thankfully, there are a dedicated group of users that freak out when it's not working, and a couple who have the wherewithal to fix it themselves. I've got so much other neat stuff to work on that this is a welcome relief.
Sincere thanks to the following RYM users for their assistance with the app in the form of bug fixes or helpful suggestions: