UPDATE: Scobblepod is back from the dead (see here)
I’m guilty of being addicted to Last.fm and the charts that it creates of my listening history. I guess I just love statistics. However, my OCD wants my play counts on Last.fm to accurately reflect what I have listened to. This of course means that I need to be able to scrobble tracks not only from iTunes, but also from my iPhone. I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to find the perfect solution. At this point there aren’t any perfect solutions, but there are few working methods to pick from.
Note: I’m running Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6).
Official Last.fm Client
According to the Last.fm website the official client is supposed to be able to scrobble tracks from iPod Touches and iPhones. It hasn’t been updated in a while and I’m not sure if it has to do with a iTunes updates or something else, but the Last.fm client routinely crashes iTunes when I try to sync my iPhone. Making it close to impossible to scrobble my tracks. It also doesn’t like it if you sync more than one iPhone with your Mac (even if under different users) if you use Fast User Switching. To be fair, when it used to work for me it would scrobble multiple plays of the same track. One caveat though, is that the timestamps for your plays are likely to be inaccurate if you listen to your music in iTunes. This is do to the Last.fm site not supporting scrobbling tracks before the most recent scrobble. While the official Last.fm client hasn’t worked for me in a while, you might have better luck. Download it at http://www.last.fm/download.
ScrobblePod is my preferred app and it works great. It solves the timestamp issue that the official client has by queueing up all of the iTunes plays and holding them until your iPhone is synced. It then combines all of the plays and scrobbles them all at once. There is only one caveat with this method, that it can’t detect multiple plays on your iPhone. Since I don’t even always listen to the some track more than once between syncs (and you might not either) it’s not usually an issue. I will say that it does bug me that after listening to an album on repeat it only sees it as played once. The developer was working on a solution to this but he hasn’t been active since last year (he hasn’t even scrobbled a track to Last.fm since last September). To further complicate the matter the ScrobblePod webpage is currently suspended. That being said, it still works beautifully with the current version of iTunes and iOS 4. Thankfully, I still have a copy of the download so you can snag it here.
Scrobbl (requires jailbroken iPhone)
Scrobbl is a Last.fm scrobbler that runs in the background of your iPhone. It can scrobble tracks as they are played directly from your iPhone. If you have a jailbroken iPhone then this is definitely the way to go. You’ll need something else (such as Audioscrobbler) for scrobbling from iTunes. One more note, the version of Scrobbl for iPhone OS 3 still works in iOS 4. Scrobbl is available as a free download via Cydia.
The bottom line: use ScrobblPod unless you have a jailbroken iPhone. In that case, use Scrobbl. If you have any better ways let me know in the comments.