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I have just discovered Audioscrobbler. You install a plugin for your preferred music player, get a mostly-anonymous account, and the plugin sends track info from your player to Audioscrobbler. They do all sorts of interesting data-processing on your list, and spit out interesting statistics as well as recommendations of other music you’d like based on what you listen to.

As for what they get out of it, there’s all sorts of useful purposes to which massive amounts of listener information can be put, commercial or otherwise. They can make money with partnerships with industries who’d like to know what people are listening to, and they can also give back to the community by providing that very same massive amount of processed data to anyone who wants to play with it for non-commercial purposes.

I think this qualifies as a good new toy.