Apple Music and Last.fm: Does it Scrobble?

08 Jul 2015

Ever since Apple announced Apple Music at WWDC I was wondering whether it was possible to scrobble played tracks to Last.fm. As expected, iTunes on OS X and the Music app on iOS do not directly support scrobbling, but I wanted to see if there are other ways.

In this post I am going to explore third-party apps that allow scrobbling on OS X and iOS and explain when and what will be scrobbled.

iTunes on OS X

Scrobbling played songs from iTunes always required a third-party application. There is the official Last.fm Mac app, but for the last couple of years I used Simplify. Simplify can scrobble from iTunes, Rdio, Spotify and others and can also display the currently playing song in the menu bar. But does Simplify work with Apple Music? It depends.

It depends whether iTunes reports the currently playing track via AppleScript or not. We can test whether scrobbling works using a small AppleScript

tell application "iTunes"
    tell current track to artist & " - " & name
end tell

First of all, scrobbling works for everything that is in My Music (that is, your library). It does not matter if the song is stored locally, streamed from iTunes Match, streamed from Apple Music, or a song from Apple Music that was made available offline. The same is true for playlists, scrobbling works for you local playlists, as well as Apple Music Playlists. But now things get complicated.

Let's take a look at the For You and New sections.

  • If you play a song, album, or playlist directly in the For You section it will not scrobble.
  • If you play from the detail view of a playlist that you previously added to My Music it scrobbles.
  • If you play a playlist directly from the For You section it will not scrobble.
  • If you play a song, or album that you previously added to My Music from the detail view it will not scrobble.
  • If you search for a song, album, or artist and play from the search results it will not scrobble.
  • Everything in Radio, including Beats 1 will not scrobble.

Basically, only music in My Music and Playlists will scrobble, with the one exception of saved playlists.

Music on iOS

Scrobbling on iOS is a little bit trickier. Again, you need a third-party software. CloudScrob (€0,99) and QuietScrob (free, with €0,99 In-App purchase), both worked in principal for me, but QuietScrob can run in the background, while you have to open CloudScrob to scrobble to Last.fm. Unlike Simplify on OS X, scrobbling with QuietScrob is not immediate but happes in bulk every 30 minutes (or so).

It looks like the same restrictions as for scrobbling with iTunes and Simplify on OS X apply. However, in addition scrobbling does not work when playing an Apple Music Playlist.

CloudScrob has not been updated since November 2013, but QuietScrob latest update is from May 20, so there is hope that developers will find ways to scrobble additional methods of listening on Apple Music.

I am feredir on Last.fm.

Updates

  • 8 July 2015, 18:15: Add note about background scrobbling in QuietScrob