Last.fm, the popular online music discovery service, just launched its new Personalized Visual Music player today, which, at least from a visual perspective, takes online radio to a new level. The new player automatically plays a slideshow with related images uploaded by the Last.fm community, which looks surprisingly good. More importantly, though, Last.fm now allows users to create combo stations, where a user can create a station with up to three artists or tags.
With this new emphasis on stations, Last.fm also redesigned the 'recent stations' section in order to allow users to see far more of their recently created stations. Users can now also easily delete stations from this same dialog.
While the new visual features are a welcome change to Last.fm's online radio, the real game-changer here are the multi-artist and tag stations. These allow users to create more interesting and diverse stations, while still exercising a large amount of control over the content of these stations.
It is also important to note that the radio player now features visual branding from Last.fm sponsors (Budweiser seems to be the current sponsor). In its press release, Last.fm stresses that this new layout will give advertisers and sponsors the ability to create a more immersive experience than standard audio advertising.
iPhone App Still Lagging Behind
Hopefully, Last.fm will also soon update its already excellent iPhone application to include these new features as well. Although, today's announcement did not mention the company's mobile applications at all.