So many music services, so little time

There's been a lot of great online music services that have popped up over the last couple years. Pandora got a ton of acclaim for its attractive interface and its ability to analyze the patterns within music to make more recommendations. I've personally had mixed results with it, but I can certainly see the allure.

Last.fm has been around for awhile, but seems to be the service getting the most attention at the moment. I've used this service as well and have been very impressed. It places much more emphasis on the social networking approach to playlists and recommendations than Pandora. And when you think about it, the way a lot of people discover music is through friends so it's arguably the most proven approach.

As nice as these services are, it makes you realize just how incredible Launchcast was when they were offering this caliber of service back when they started in 1999. Since their acquisition by Yahoo in 2001 they've become more commercialized (which depending on your perspective is a good or bad thing.) I've personally been using the service for years and still enjoy it as the more detailed rating system seems to do a better job of learning my tastes. Hopefully they'll eventually be able to finally get it working with a Flash or Ajax frontend so it can be more accessible in a multi-browser, multi-OS world.

Another one I've only recently discovered (not sure how long they've been around) is Finetune. I was looking for a good streaming music solution that worked well with the Wii's browser. Unfortunately none of the options above currently work properly on the Wii. Finetune, however, has built a VERY nice interface designed solely for the Wii. It's very easy to navigate with the remote and looks great on a TV screen. I've got to spend more time customizing my playlists, but I think this could quickly become one of the main sources of music on our home stereo as the inexpensive Wii does an amazing job of taking another step toward the ultimate convergence box.

Unfortunately, I simply don't have the time to fully utilize all these great services. And given the way most of them work, the more time you put into them, the better your experience as it learns your tastes. I'm already heavily-leveraged into Launchcast. And given Finetune's great Wii interface I'll likely continue to use that one as well. If Last.fm had a better Wii interface I'd likely give it another chance, but for now I'll continue to use Finetune.

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