Since the Zune has become a more complete media player it has gained in popularity, though still not even close to competing with Apple’s line of personal media players. Now that the Zune is finding its way into more people hands, more people want the thing to work with Last.fm. For some reason Microsoft has no problem allowing plug-ins for Windows Media Player (which easily supports Last.fm) but has kept the Zune software closed. Thankfully there are a lot of smart people out there who want to make this work no matter what the obstacles. One such person is Last.fm member Machiventa who maintains the Zenses group at Last.fm (program developed by Daryl Rowland). To download Zenses please go to the Last.fm group. For the purpose of this tutorial I am using Zenses version 0.2 and Zune software 3.1. If you follow this step by step you should be able to scrobble all tracks played on your Zune. All credit for the program and instructions go to the original creator, I am merely adding screen shots for visual learners. All images below can be clicked on so that you can see the full shot for easier viewing. Click to read on…
Before I start I assume you know how to use Last.fm, your Zune and the Zune Sofware. If you don’t know what you are doing with that stuff, do some reading before trying this.
Step 1: Close the Zune Software so that your player is not connected or syncing to your PC via the Zune Software.
Step 2: Once your Zune is disconnected (not physically) from your PC (your Zune will be at it’s main menu) open Zenses. The first screen you will be greeted with is this:
This is the screen that will scan your player and it’s tracks.
Step 3: When Zenses is done scanning, you will get this screen:
This is the main menu of Zenses so you will need to get used to it, but for now, just close the program. You must do this step to get it to work.
Step 4: Now physically disconnect your Zune from you PC. Listen to some tracks.
A note on getting play counts: Until getting a month or so of experience with the Zune, I wasn’t 100% sure on how the Zune hardware tagged tracks as played. From my iPod days I assumed that any track didn’t get a play count until the song made it all they way to the end, but that isn’t the case. The Zune hardware works exactly like the Zune software. Once a track has been played 20 seconds, it gets a play count. This kind of cheats the ways of Last.fm where you need to listen to 50% of the song to get it scrobbled. No big deal, and sometimes I don’t mind the shorter length to get a song a play count. I note this because some people have serious music A.D.D. and switch from track to track very quickly. Listen 20 seconds and you are golden.
Step 5: Now that you listened to some music, you can reconnect your Zune. If you let the Zune Software automatically open, let it do so, let it sync and then close the Zune software. If the Zune software doesn’t automatically come up, that’s fine, you can use Zenses prior to syncing the Zune with the Zune software. I actually suggest letting Zenses go first. If you like to rate songs with a broken heart for removal by the Zune software, running Zenses first will still allow these songs to get a play count. If you were to run Zune first, it would remove all broken heart tracks and then Zenses would not be able to read the removed songs.
Step 6: Now re-open Zenses. You will get the screen under step 2, followed by the screen in step 3. Hopefully you now have a handful of tracks to submit to Last.fm and your screen will look like this:
If it does not, you did something wrong or Zenses isn’t working properly. Try using another version of Zenses (available for download within the Last.fm group) and see if you have luck with any of those. If you do not, I can’t help beyond that so use that group as help for your issues.
One other important item to note with this step. When you get to the screen shown under step 2 you will see that it scans your players tracks. Then it will have some cute sayings along the way (La la la…, things like that) and will finish with Be Patient, I’m Zensing You (click for screenshot). When you get that message you will notice that the progress bar will look like its almost done, then it will look like it is done only to go back and start over at the 90% mark. DON’T WORRY or close the program or come to the Last.fm group and say Zenses doesn’t work. This is how it works and if you are patient everything will be fine. As a point of reference I have a Zune 120 that has roughly 100gig of music on it. It takes me 5 to 10 minutes to run Zenses so that I can scrobble my tracks. I wish it was quicker, but it works so I live with it.
Step 7: Before submitting tracks to Last.fm you need to enter your user ID and password. Next step is somewhat critical, so pay attention. Right under the area you enter your user name and password you will see First Track Date / Time and the Interval. What this is asking you is when do you want to submit your first track from the Tracks To Be Submitted window and how many seconds in between submissions. So if you submit your first track at 5pm, your next track gets sent at 5:00 and 15 seconds, then so on and so forth. You can enter in an interval of 15 or 30 seconds (or whatever you want really). Be aware that if you have a lot of tracks to submit and you submit them at the current time and date, you won’t be able to scrobble anything played in a media player (Winamp, WMP, whatever) until your last track has been submitted from Zenses. Once you hit submit, your screen will look like this:
One thing to note here is that when I send tracks to Last.fm, the progress bar always stalls at 10 out of whatever. If that happens to you, don’t worry, its probablly just more Beta release fun. After waiting for a second here, you should get this:
And that’s it, you used your Zune with Last.fm. Pretty sweet, huh? After doing some further research, and getting a chance to message with Machiventa, I found that the software is more than likely not in development anymore. This means we are stuck with a beat release, but since the overall goal is achieved, the minor inconveniences that are here really nothing to complain about. Stuff like putting tracks up out of order or even missing a scrobble here and there. While I did this with the Zune in mind, this should work for a lot of the other supported players (see Last.fm group for listing of supported players). I hope this helps a little, reading the instructions in a single paragraph made things a little difficult for me, so I thought adding a few shots and going step by step might help some people out.