This is a big post, so please forgive me. I’ve used last.fm since 2016 so I’ve had years to think about what I would like to see in sites like this(and what I liked most on there). And given how LB is linked to MB it right away solves the biggest problem last.fm has refused to deal with since it was created(grouping artists by name, and often redirecting things wrong and straight up losing months of stats for them because of the way they do it). So this is my thoughts after years of last.fm, and a month of having LB open all day every day. Forgive me if I mention anything others have said, or if I missed a feature that already exists. (I don’t have stuff in year in music, or recommendations, or fresh releases, etc so I’m not sure what they all will look like)
Tracks, albums, and artists should have pages on Listenbrainz
that you go to instead of musicbrainz, similar to how last.fm does it. I would like to see similar info on those pages that last.fm shows. Play counts, view your historical listens, a graph of listening trends from all users(I love these especially as it’s neat to see the spikes for artists when they release new albums, or when certain songs cause spikes at times of year like christmas or halloween for music appropriate for those times). Also it would be nice if you could see the total number of listeners, and total listens for each item like on last.fm.
Musicbrainz allows linking socials for artists, so on a listenbrainz artist page it could have a social feed showing recent posts by that artist. Is there maybe a 3rd party feed service with an API that takes a list of social links and provides a feed that could be integrated without adding extra server load?
It would also be nice to have a list of similar artists on a listenbrainz artist page. I use this a LOT on last.fm as they do a good job of showing similar artists, not just popular artists from the same genre.
Social features. Comments, DMs, sharing
Last.fm shouts on song pages I feel are 95% useless as harsh as that may come off. And they are often downright awful and should be removed by moderators. Instead I would love to see Critiquebrainz reviews embedded without leaving LB. But shouts for users and artists are better(than they are on songs, not vs critiquebrainz) in my experience. Especially for users as it adds to the social aspect and makes the site more engaging I feel. And for users you could have it so they can delete any comments on their page. And for artists either downvote threshold or report for bad ones?
It would be nice to have a DM feature to message other users as well. But have it so people can pick between disabling it completely, or limiting it to people they follow, or that follow them to lower spam and abuse(I’ve gotten spam in my last.fm DMs).
Also for social features, a small bio + profile picture that would be displayed similar to last.fm would be nice, I find it helps weed out real people vs bots and gives you an idea about a user. Social features like that give people more reason to spend more time on the site and encourage others to use it, I think, rather than just once a month or two looking at their stats.
On the topic of social stuff. Maybe more ways to share some of the pretty graphs you get on social media beyond a link. Something you can embed in posts. Would be a good way to get more users if people start sharing their stats for others to see.
The site already shows you users you are similar to. It would be nice if you could see a score for how similar you are to any user when you view their page.
One difference with Listenbrainz and last.fm is how Loved tracks are shown. I prefer how last.fm does it when viewing other users profiles. On Listenbrainz when viewing another users profile it will show hearts for songs I have Loved. On last.fm it shows tracks that user has loved. I feel the way last.fm does it is better for browsing other peoples listens.
Recommendations. Diamonds in the rough? Quality > Quantity.
I mostly listen to kpop these days. And with KPop especially, but other genres as well, how popular something is all comes down to marketing. Even social media trends are all marketing. So to me seeing some group has 2 billion views on youtube means little to nothing on how good they or the song is. And something I noticed browsing last.fm often was a lot of the trendy groups had much worse ratios for total listeners to total listens. Lots of people listen a few times and that’s it. Compared to smaller groups they often had much higher listens to listeners. And some songs in particular had much higher listens to listeners ratio. So what I would like to see is highlighting music in this way. Finding songs and groups similar to what I like, that people who listen to them REALLY like them. Less about total popularity.
Similarly. Last.fm shows a graph on every artist, album, and song page showing listening trends. And again a lot of really trendy groups and songs you will see the typical increase when a new release comes out, but then a rather sharp drop after. But then some groups will have much slower decrease, or even a constant increase in listeners over time. So it would be nice to highlight releases like this, that have a higher… staying power? Again not showing what is trendy, but stuff that people continue to love over time. An example here would be looking at “miss A” a group active from 2010 to 2017 shows a gradual increase in listeners over time despite no new music, while “IVE” a new group shows a spike at their last release, and then a constant downward trend since.
Again speaking to my current taste in KPop. There is a lot of amazing and talented groups out there, who make music of the same style and quality of well known groups, but have much smaller companies behind them. So they aren’t marketed as well and people often never even hear about them. I would love to see more recommendation features that try to not just recommend the well known groups, but everyone regardless of how well known they are. Like, no one interested in KPop needs to be recommended BTS, even people who don’t like KPop likely know them. Find me the artists that have gone under the mainstream radar.
I listen to a lot of different groups. I have a playlist with a few hundred groups on it as my main list that I play on shuffle. But some times I will come across a new song, or even one I’ve known for awhile and can’t get enough of it. If one was to analyze my listening history they’d probably find quite often there will be sudden times where a single song can be played anywhere from 5 to 150 times in a row(Literally, I’m a bit crazy). I would love a feature that could find these songs from all users and rank them again in a way fair to all artists no matter how big or small. Like number of obsessive streaks relative to total listeners or something. And then show me ones similar to music I like.
But also have a list of obsessions like this on peoples profiles so you can see what your own, and other peoples obsessions are. Not just what I say I love. Expose me for listening to Babyface by WJSN for 16 hours straight.
I would love to see more general(not user specific) playlists like spotify has, or like Plexamps auto playlists.
Using data from musicbrainz and listening data from listenbrainz generate weekly lists and let users save them permanently if they like them. Could be the top trending songs from a country, or genre. You could either use detected locations or allow users to input their City/State or Province/Country and show music people near them enjoy. Could be a time travel playlist for a genre with popular songs spanning a range of time. For time travel maybe variable length and start/end, like Could be longer and have top song from each month over a period, or shorter with just the top song of the year(in that genre).
Related to how I mentioned spikes in last.fm graphs at certain times of year. You could analyze your data to generate playlists for holidays. These songs are popular on Christmas, or halloween, or valentines day, etc. Find songs that spike specifically at those times of year. (For example look at the graph on last.fm for my favourite christmas song https://www.last.fm/music/PURPLE+KISS/_/My+My).
More ways to show top artists/albums/tracks?
It would be cool if the site tracked your top artists, albums, and tracks for each week, then gave you a list showing ones with the most time as #1 in the lists. Would be different from total plays as I could listen to one song 300 times a day for a week and have it at the top in my total listens, then never listen again, or could have 50 listens a week and be #1 and have that happen for 30 weeks straight.
It would be nice to see things like your Top New Artist for artists who debuted that year, and Top New Discovery for artists who aren’t as new, maybe Biggest Gains? for artists you heard before the current year but moved up the most in your top artist list?
Groups some times show up on my toplist multiple times, even though they have the same artist ID linked. “9Muses” and “Nine Muses” for example are my #20 and #21(Using them as a good example as they just happen to be next to each other, happens a lot though). It would be nice if these would be get automatically merged. It could be especially bad with KPop as groups will have releases credited in many different ways. Having both English and Korean for the same release depending on the source(spotify vs bugs! for example) are very common, plus Japanese for Japanese albums, Chinese for Chinese albums, etc.
I haven’t looked to see this, but seeing those like that, I imagine if groups change their names it will also have multiple entries for those even though it’s the same group.
Likewise, it would be nice to see sub-groups merged into the main group. They have unique pages on musicbrainz, but I do see they have the sub-group relationship, so it would be nice if it would find an artist is a sub group of another it would merge into the main group on listenbrainz stats pages. Maybe it could be expandable and show each main/sub/member under there. Like Girls’ Generation over all 3000 listens, expanded to Girls’ Generation main group 2000, Girls’ Generation-TTS 500, Girls’ Generation-Oh!GG 500. Or the bar sectioned to show the amount each sub group is responsible for and it shows the name on mouse over. Cause in the end its still the same group, just a subset performing that song. If a rock band does an acoustic song and some of the members sit out you don’t call it a different group do you? KPop having their own subgroup names is all just marketing to create buzz.
Also with featured artists the top list will show everything as it’s own entry rather than grouped. So for say an artist like RIELL no matter how much I listen to her she’ll never show up anywhere near the top of my list, as the majority of her songs have different collaborators. For a person like RIELL I get that it might be tricky on how to display it when its shared credit. But I’d rather things not add up and have double credit (like both RIELL and Besomorph getting full credit in the top list for songs they collab on) than crediting each way the artist credit was written separately and breaking up the listen counts for artists, as if you look at RIELL she has been credited in 25 different ways.
These various things for me at least kind of take away from the top artist list as I feel like they don’t get the credit they deserve?
Also related, but for the world map, if there is more than one artist for a track, it does counts listens for all artists towards the total for the country it seems. So for a song like Not Friends by LOONA, rather than the group getting credit, it credits 4 different members of the group, so each listen of that song gives 4 to the total for South Korea. (I noticed this when I only had 1 song for a country and it had a featured artist and the total was the combined total. 20 listens of one song gave 20 to artist 1, and 20 to artist 2, and 40 total for the country. Not a huge deal, just can lead to inflated listens on the map.
Data missing tools
I would like to see more “Data missing” tools for music I listen to. Not just for stuff that is missing completely, but it would be nice to see a list of artists I listen to who don’t have an area set for example(I’m obsessed with my listening map). It would also be nice to see on the world map an indicator how many listens/artists aren’t being mapped. I have been trying to add missing artists, releases, and links for stuff like streaming pages and socials, but it’s time consuming just checking hundreds of artists musicbrainz pages to see if they are missing stuff like that. I feel like exposing more info in ways like this would encourage more users to add missing information.
Musicbrainz collections + Listenbrainz
As an example, there is a collection on musicbrainz of hundreds of different KPop groups. I like to try and find music I like regardless of group popularity. It would be amazing if you could take collections like that, and have a randomized playlist of top songs from each group in the list. “Play collection on Listenbrainz” from MB? Looking at users on MB I have seen some people have sizable collections they have organized so it would be neat to be able to play them like this.
Linking and auto matching
The link UI needs a rework I think to make it more user friendly. Personally I am obsessed with my stats and go through the effort of looking up each recording on MB and copying the recording ID. But looking at my similar users, many either don’t know about it, or don’t want to spend the time as they have a lot of unlinked songs(That I know exist as I have linked them on my own page). When adding releases to MB you get a nice box(that could be autofilled with the information from that listen) that pops up suggested artists, then again for release and recording. Seems like the code for a more user friendly experience already exists and could be brought over to LB.
Automatic matching also seems to struggle with releases that aren’t only in latin script. A lot of my KPop songs for example fail even if the artist, album, and song are in latin script, when there are multiple recording names in MB that also have hangul names, even if there are some that are perfect matches. Almost seems like it doesn’t compare to ALL versions of a recording and just the default one?
Also, it would be nice if there was an easy way to report incorrect matches. While I can fix my own, it doesn’t seem to help with anyone elses. The Queen of KPop as an example. “BoA”'s track “Forgive me” off her EP “Forgive me” matched as Zoya’s Forgive & Forget(I think. I know it’s that artist as it’s on my similar users map linked still, I fixed mine long ago though)
Remember last.fm username
I was looking through my missing data page and started coming across really… different… artists than I listen to. Then one day I clicked to the last page of my listens and seen even more strange stuff. Then realized the dates were 7 years before I started using last.fm. So I assume at one point I accidentally entered the wrong name into the importer and it grabbed someone elses, oops. So I had to delete my listens and reimport them to clean it up. So having it remember usernames would be great to prevent accidents like mine.
Another addition I think would help would be more help pages, or help tooltips, or something. For example, on the reports page it would be nice to have a help or FAQ that explained how often all the data is updated. Likewise for any pages that aren’t real time. I atleast can’t seem to find much, though I could be just missing something right in front of me… again.
Also if there is ways to monetize this site in a user friendly way to help cover costs and provide more money for more server power I would support this. Even if it was deals with services using affliate links or whatever. Buy this album on Amazon, or Apple, etc. Are non-profits able to do stuff like that?
Edit to add: Dark Theme
Thank your for all your hard work on this site and musicbrainz! It is especially refreshing to see you engaging with users for ideas in contrast to last.fm that has ignored major issues for… ever. I wish I was smart enough to help as a developer. Hopefully my obsessive listening data and (my other accounts) MB contributions help!