LFM vs SPY

This application can be operated in either of two modes:

  • Last.fm mode (aka LFM mode) – in this mode your Last.fm account is the sole source of your play data> There is no requirement that you own Sonos equipment for this mode.
  • SPY mode(available for Sonos owners only) in this mode your Sonos plays are obtained directly from your Sonos equipment, and these are supplemented by any non-Sonos plays which have been scrobbled to your free Last.fm account.

LFM mode

The simplest mode to set up, and delivers most of the benefits available from the other mode.

Factor Consequence
Easy set-up Very simple install process.
. Sonos owners only Your Sonos can already automatically scrobble your plays to a free Last.fm account
Benefits AlbumPlays will load your Last.fm play counts into MediaMonkey.
. These will be the aggregated play counts from across all of your music players which scrobble to Last.fm
. AlbumPlays can resurrect lost scrobbles in many cases
Issues Last.fm may “correct” or truncate your scrobble tags, requiring you to set up remap rules to enable these to be matched back into MediaMonkey
. Last.fm doesn’t distinguish between tracks you own and tracks which you stream; requiring you to handle irrelevant MediaMonkey “mismatches” of tracks which don’t own
. Sonos owners only Sonos does not ensure that your scrobbles are received by Last.fm, and not all lost scrobbles may be resurrected 1

SPY mode

A more complex set up. Some improved benefits.

Only applicable to Sonos owners

I ran the application for about a year in LFM mode. I now run it in SPY mode, and while I would miss the SPY benefits if I had to go back, it is hard to say whether the install task would be worth your while.

A complicating factor is that the SPY component of AlbumPlays is best suited to a Linux environment for cost and convenience reasons. I run it on a tiny inexpensive device with minimal power requirements, attached into my network, and always left running.

I have next to no Linux skills, however I got the Linux device going without too much effort (steps described here), but am unable to provide assistance much beyond that how-to guide.

The SPY application may be run in a Windows environment equally well, but it requires that a PC be running while you play music on your Sonos.

While it is not ideal to run the Spy component on a Windows PC, a number of people do run it that way and are happy with it.

Factor Consequence
More complex set-up options These are 2 application components to install; the extra application (Spy) observes your Sonos equipment to ascertain your track plays.
. It would be most convenient if the SPY component is placed on a device that is already running whenever playing music with Sonos. Unless you have a PC always running at these times, it would be cheapest to do this with a Linux device.
. Linux requires some technical skills to set up. It is simplest if you use a Raspberry Pi (as I have done), because that has been designed and packaged as an educational tool, with a wealth of support material available online. … It is also cheapest as it is a bare-bones inexpensive device from a not-for-profit foundation.
. I have produced a Raspberry Pi setup tutorial, intended for someone with limited technical skills and from a Windows background. It is specifically focused on just the tasks required to get AlbumPlays running well on a Raspberry Pi, and setup for easiest support.
Benefits All of those described in the LFM section above, including the aggregation of your non-Sonos plays
Enhanced benefits AlbumPlays can be configured to replace the Sonos scrobbler. Plays detected from your Sonos are cached, and AlbumPlays will manage and retry submitting them until they successfully accepted by Last.fm
. Your Sonos plays are imported into MediaMonkey directly; meaning there can be no interference arising from Last.fm scrobble corrections
. Any Last.fm corrections are observed, and you are given the option to have these applied to MediaMonkey and your tracks
. The SPY component will detect whether a Sonos play is from your own library, and will not bother you by trying to import streamed plays into MediaMonkey
. AlbumPlays can distinguish your own Sonos plays from those by other household members, so this application can scrobble just your own plays to your Last.fm account
. All benefits are available regardless whether you install under Windows or Linux

FootNote:


  1. Resurrection of lost scrobbles is only possible if you are listening to whole albums, in the album’s natural track sequence, and is only reliable while there is a single Sonos zone or group playing at the time. The facility will not resurrect the loss of the last track, or tracks, from an album.