There are a vast array of music social networks out there to choose from. The three heavy hitters in the social music site scene right now seem to be iLike, Last.FM and MOG. I didn’t include iLike in this comparison, because it lacks some of the features that MOG and Last.FM offer and seems to be most useful on existing social networking sites like Facebook.
Last.FM got my attention first. I installed the small widget that “talks” to the Last.FM site (called scrobbling by Last.FM). At first, all went well, and it always updated my music based on what songs I was playing and downloading. It had recommendations for me whenever I visited the web site, and I could customize my profile and seek out other people with the same music tastes. I was loving it.
That’s when it started having issues. I first noticed the issues on the MySpace widget I had installed – 9 times out of 10 the widget wasn’t working. So I checked the sidebar widget I had on one of my logs. Same thing. I made sure the program on my computer was working (it was), and decided to monitor it for a few days. Over the course of several days, the Last.FM widget was down about 80% of the time. Since displaying what I was listening to was the main reason I’d installed Last.FM, and the feature I was most interested in using, I decided to try a new program.
I went to MOG and grabbed their version of Last.FM’s “scrobbler” program. Both were equally simple to install – just double click the icon on the desktop and it places the little widget right into your System Preferences dashboard (I have a MacBook). As it installs it asks you to allow it access to your iTunes, and you are done. Both programs installed the same way.
Right away, I liked MOG better than Last.FM. Last.FM caused some lag time on my system (perhaps it is a larger program – I don’t know the reason) where MOG had no impact on my system at all. It runs quietly in the background, interfering with nothing. I had spent some time on Last.FM’s web site, but never really got into the social aspects of it. Finding friends on Last.FM simply wasn’t as intuitive to me, although overall their design is more attractive than MOG.
On MOG’s site, however; I find that I play all the time. I love the way they have set up the user pages to place everything from blog ability to song uploads and sharing right at your fingertips. I find myself playing around there quite a bit more than is wise considering all the work I have to do on a daily basis. In fact, the blog feature of MOG is one of the things I like best about it. Sure, I already have several blogs of my own, but none are dedicated to music. With MOG I can write about and share what I’m listening to. It even allows you to embed the shared music on your other blogs, and link to pages where users can buy the albums that go with the tracks – genius!
As far as the widgets on my Myspace , FaceBook and blog sidebars , they have been up and running 9 times out of ten. The few times they have been down, MOG has placed an automatically generated error message that states the server is being maintained, so your readers don’t see blank space or get the eternally spinning wheel or hourglass. One drawback of MOG is load time on the widgets. MOG does not cause my computer to drag, but it does occasionally cause the sidebar widget to drag. I can only assume that happens in times of server overload. It would be nice if MOG offered a way to have the widget default to the server maintenance message if their widget takes longer than a minute to load.
Overall, I liked the features and reliability better with MOG than with Last.FM. If you don’t need the blog, or like the design better at Last.FM, you may make a different choice. Not only that, new social music sites arrive often in Web 2.0 land, so you could find a program you like better than either of them. That’s the beauty of Web 2.0 for creatives – options.
My original version found at Profy site