Stream Music With SweetFM’s Last.FM Client, Now Open Source and Free

Written By Sam on 24 November 2010
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If you are a music aficionado, you may be familiar with Last.fm. It’s a web app that enables you to access live music streams. However, if you are wary of opening up a webpage so you can listen to some music, here’s a workaround — SweetFM. SweetFM is a Mac OS X-only free application that functions as an extension of Last.fm stream service but without the use of a browser so it is more compact and less resource hungry — a definite advantage. Where Last.fm was large, required you to open a website to access the streaming services, SweetFM is smaller in size and works without using a browser window to use Last.fm streaming services and offers additional improvements along the way.

Overview

If you already have a Last.fm account, it makes sense to go in for SweetFM which is open source Mac client. SweetFM integrates with Last.fm while segregating the radioplayer to provide full functional features. The interface is cleaner and down to the essentials, which means you can focus on enhancing your music experience by accessing the content of Last.fm in a better way.

Interface

SweetFM boasts a neat interface, focusing on making it a music player with relevant function buttons. It will not require you to open up a web browser like Last.fm and is less resource hungry as well. It simplifies streaming. There are 8 ways to access Last.fm music. Functions can be accessed by clicking icons located at the top of the small window. These become active when usable otherwise stay grayed out. SweetFM is aesthetically designed and you may at times forget you are listening to streaming music.

Functionality and Usability

These are almost similar to Last.fm interface allowing a user to create a library, choice of recommended songs, search facility to search by artists or songs. SweetFM allows users to tag music and create a station based on multiple tags.

Player

Select a station from the interface and the actual music player is displayed with the interactive features of Last.fm within the SweetFM player. If a track is your favorite you can tag it or attach a message to it. In the same line are located the stop and next track buttons. Since SweetFM syncs with Last.fm you get the same content as if you had logged onto Last.fm. You can see your playlists, favorites and updates to your statistics. What is moe SweetFM allows you to add particular songs to particular playlists so you have a catalogued collection, a definite improvement over Last.fm.

Equalizer

A music player ought to have an equalizer to permit the listener to modify the tonal quality to some extent. Sweet FM gains an equalizer a very welcome addition. In addition to manual adjustment facility there are 22 presets available. This facility is welcome when you consider that the audio quality of the stream does not compare with iTunes MP3 so having an equalizer to fine tune audio enriches content aurally.

Information

You can run the SweetFM as it is but if you would like to see the artist’s name you click on the title and a Last.fm page opens up with detailed information, track and album details. The player may display the album cover art with a link to the iTunes store and clicking it will take you to iTunes to purchase the album if so desired. This information certainly enhances the app.

Controls

Browser based streaming music have very few or no controls at all other than basic play and stop. SweetFM is now enhanced allowing use of Apple Remote or keyboard to stop or skip to the next track. This is as near to the iTunes functions as it gets.

Pricing

The sweetest part is perhaps that SweetFM is a free piece of software, the only requirement being that you should already have a Last.fm account. For an additional $3 a month you can access subscriber features from SweetFM as also Last.fm. As deals go it is good.

More…

SweetFM allows you to access various playlists at the click of a button and save your favorite song to a particular selectable playlist unlike Last.fm where only the last playlist could be accessed. A definite improvement.

Conclusion

Last.fm has a lot of things going for it being a reliable streaming music service which also provides a lot of information on the music of your choice, making it encyclopaedic. The only drawback is it requires a browser. However this minor glitch seems to have been taken care of in the SweetFM interface which takes streaming music listening to a different strata while not detracting from Last.fm’s functionalities which are always there when you need them.

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