If I was to break down what I use my smartphone for, I suspect that the media player (specifically for music and audio podcasts) would be a big part of Windows Phone and of the devices and Operating Systems I've used before. Those historical handsets all had third-party applications that would link my musical listening to the popular Last.FM music service. I've not yet found something suitable for Windows Phone... will MetroScrobbler be the app to change that?
Version Reviewed: 126.96.36.199
Opening the application for the first time, you'll be asked to login to Last.FM with an existing account, or you can set up a new account if you're not using the service. Note that you'll be directed to the Portuguese version of Last.FM, so you might want to set up an account in the supplied browser instance.
For those of you not familiar with Last.FM, it's a two-part service. The first part is a small client which sits in your music player and 'scrobbles' the track information on all the music you play back to your profile on the Last.FM servers.
This allows the second part of the service, your online music profile, to do some interesting stuff with your music - such as finding people on Last.FM who have the same music, recommending new music to you, creating personalised radio stations, and lots of charts, numbers, and statistics for you to look through.
The focus of Metroscrobbler is on the first part of the service , getting the information about the music played out of your Windows Phone and into Last.FM.
In a perfect world, MetroScrobbler would work in the background, picking up the music you play on the built-in media player, and pass these up to Last.FM as a background task. But as we all know, background tasks don't work that way in Windows Phone, so MetroScrobbler offers two alternative approaches to solving the issue.
The first is to play music from inside the application, and unsurprisingly this works. Hitting the shuffle button will bring up music from the music collection on your smartphone, with details and information pulled down from Last.FM, and as you listen the track info will be added to your Last.FM profile.
I do have one issue though, the shuffle function in the application seems be locked into 'Groundhog Day' mode. Every time I shuffle I get the same playlist. Yes, it is shuffled, but I want shuffle to be a different shuffle, not 'listen to The Civil Wars followed by The Shadows'. Hopefully this is a quick bug fix.
There's no way to directly choose one of your music tracks on demand and play it from inside MetroScrobbler - which is where the second option to scrobble comes in. While the built-in music player is blasting out your tunes, select one of MetroScrobbler's live tiles to start the app tracking the music you play. Select it again to stop the tracking, and then you can sync these tracks up to the Last.FM service. I suspect this is the best that the current Windows Phone security model will allow.
I've always loved the idea of Last.FM both as a global "this is what I'm listening to" and as a recommendation engine to discover new music. Unfortunately giving app 'A' access to information from app 'B' (in this case MetroScrobbler and the Music player) to aid this has been hindered by Microsoft and the security model used in the Windows Phone code.
One of the features I have always appreciated about Last.FM is that it sits quietly on my music players, not drawing attention to itself, gathering in all my music. MetroScrobbler cannot work this way on Windows Phone 7.5, which means that a lot of the Last.FM functionality that I love is lost. To be honest, I've never managed to find a Last.FM service that really works on Windows Phone, and, while MetroScrobbler is one of the best looking and provisioned apps on Microsoft's mobile OS, it's still not quite enough for me.
Your mileage may vary, especially if the personalised radio features are something that significantly appeal to you, but for me MetroScrobbler is an app that doesn't work well in the sometimes restrictive Windows Phone environment.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at