If you're anything like me, you need to know that your number 20 most-played track in your digital library is "Forever Live and Die" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
OK, maybe you're nothing like me, and that's probably a good thing. But if having loads of statistical data about your listening habits tickles your fancy, you should run, not walk, over to Last.fm, sign up and download the Audioscrobbler. I've always had a bit of a fetish for music charts — I think they appeal to the obsessive side of my mind — and now I can endlessly pore over my weekly, rolling and overall charts, as well as those of others. Of course, looking at Last's weekly charts compiled from all users just reminds me that I'm old and far from hip, because there's nary a Radiohead song in my library (although I am vaguely tempted to download the "pick your price" album just out of curiosity), and the kids today don't have multiple (or any) Roxette albums in their top 30.
It's true that iTunes charts your music, but Last does it with more flair and in far more ways. Plus, it counts plays from CDs as well as anything you listen to on the Last.fm radio. I also like that I can tell it when to count a play of a tune — a minimum of 75 percent of the song, 90 percent of the song or 58 percent. Whatever rings your bell.
Last also has free downloads — I snagged a good one by Under the Influence of Giants — and blogs. And while its music offerings are a helluva fun playground for music nuts, Last deftly weaves that into the context of social networking. That is one aspect of the Internet that has failed to set me on fire; MySpace couldn't be clunkier and less inspired in function and design if it tried. It's a compliment to Last that the site has piqued my interest in linking to more friends.
So go add me and see what's number one or number 118 this week. I'll be grateful.