Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Curse of the Scrobbler

I love "scrobblers" (or as Paul Lamere calls them "recommender remoras"). I don't have to do anything more than listen to my music and I passively program a very dynamic and powerful representation of myself via my music profiles (e.g. Last.fm, MyStrands, etc).

But, now I've got a problem... my work phone system will forward all of my voicemails as an MP3 to my email inbox. So, what's the problem? Well, now when I listen to them - it launches my default media player, which is hooked into a number of scrobblers, and plays it. The result? Now, you see caller id information in my "just played", "charts" and potentially "top artists" (if the same person calls me a lot). Not only does it screw with the my music experience, it also makes me nervous that I'm going to accidentally publish a list of people that I talk to.

The problem for the services that these scrobblers are connect to? Well, now they are building "artist" pages for all of my co-workers, solicitors and anyone else that leaves me a voicemail.

Now the hard part... how do you solve this? Either the onus is on the consumer to go and close down the scrobbler(s) before they listen or retroactively go and delete the "track" from just played (if the service supports that). Or, the scrobblers need to some how know what is music and what is not. Obviously a much harder problem. For those of you that build these products and services, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.


Robble said...

Part of the problem or solution can be handled with id3 tags. If a scrobbler is using id3 tags to determine the artist/track/album of an mp3 you play, then they can check those fields before sending the play event. However, if your e-mail to mp3 program is tagging the e-mail with id3 tags, then it is hard to distinguish between it and a new song.

jherskowitz said...

Robbie -

Yeah, my voicemail system creates ID3 tags (time/date stamp for track name & caller ID name for artist). Not sure if there is a solution other than making it easy for people to retroactively delete this info from their history....

Elias said...

Last.fm's scrobbler allows you to specify directories to ignore when scrobbling. Maybe you could use that to avoid scrobbling your voice mail? (Last.fm software -> Tools -> Options -> Scrobbling -> Select Directories)