Displaying recent plays on web site

Q: Are there any products out there that would allow us as a company to put something on our website that shows everyone what songs that all the computers on our Wi-Fi network have recently been listening to in iTunes?

– Kimberly

A: Although there are a number of third-party tools that are available to publish recently played information from a single iTunes library, most of these rely on simply writing the local playlist to an HTML file and are therefore not really suited for use in a multi-user environment.

Your best option in this case is to actually consider using a third-party web service such as Last.fm which can aggregate your play information from multiple computers. To do this, you would setup a single Last.fm user account to aggregate the information from all of your users, and then download and install the Last.fm client to each workstation using that single username and password.

As content is played on iTunes at a given workstation, that data is reported to the Last.fm servers and added to a list of tracks that you’ve recently played.

From there, you could take advantage of various widgets and HTML plug-ins that are available from Last.fm to display this play history on a web page of your own.

The downside to this approach, of course, is that you’re reporting your play data to an external server and then pulling this information back to your own web site, so it’s a somewhat roundabout way to go about it, but it’s definitely the easiest way to aggregate play data from more than a single computer.

As another option you could even have each user in your company sign up with their own Last.fm account and then create a Last.fm group for all of the members of your organization and publish the played tracks as a group representing your company. The use of a third-party aggregation service provides many more options as they’ve already done the heavy lifting of implementing the web service.