LFM vs SPY

There are two options for detecting and downloading your fresh play history:

  • Last.fm mode (aka LFM mode) – in this mode your Last.fm account is the sole source of your play data. Sonos equipment is not required.
  • SPY mode(available for Sonos owners only) in this mode 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.
Benefits AlbumPlays will import your Last.fm play counts into MediaMonkey.
. Play counts will be aggregated from across all music players which scrobble to Last.fm
. AlbumPlays can resurrect lost scrobbles in many cases
Issues Last.fm may “correct” or truncate the tags which you scrobble, 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 imported scrobbles which are irrelevant to MediaMonkey, as you don’t own the tracks.
. Sonos owners only Sonos does not ensure that your scrobbles are received by Last.fm, and all lost scrobbles may not be resurrected 1

SPY mode

Only applicable to Sonos owners

A more complex set up. Some improved benefits.

Factor Consequence
More complex set-up options There are 2 application components to install; the extra (Spy) component observes your Sonos equipment to detect and identify your track plays
. It is most convenient if the SPY component is placed on a device which is already running, whenever you play music on your Sonos. Unless you have a PC always running at these times, it would be cheapest to do this with a Linux device.
. While it is not ideal to run the Spy component on a Windows PC, a number of people do so, and are happy with it.
. Linux requires some technical skills to set up. It is simplest if you use a Raspberry Pi, 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 written a Raspberry Pi setup tutorial, intended for someone with limited technical skills and coming 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 benefits 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
. The SPY component will detect whether a Sonos play is from your own library, and will not bother you by trying to import plays for tracks which you don’t own into MediaMonkey
. AlbumPlays can optionally distinguish your own Sonos plays from those by other household members, so that just your own plays are scrobbled to your Last.fm account, or it can scrobble each person’s plays to their own Last.fm account
. All benefits are available regardless whether you install the Spy component 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 can not resurrect the loss of the very last track, or tracks, from an album.