Turntable.fm is a recently launched start-up that’s causing a lot of hype in online communities across the world wide web, garnering big users of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Deadmau5, and Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter). It is essentially a community of listening rooms that users can join to listen, share, and discuss music while taking turns DJ-ing in the room.
I know what you are thinking though... "So what? Why is this gaining popularity when I have so many other options for music?" Which is exactly the correct question to be asking. And the answer is there are three primary differences that separate Turntable.fm from these other services, they are:
- real-time person-to-person sharing and discussion;
- commercial-free proletariat power; and
- sheer AWESOMENESS.
Real-time P2P: Pandora, Spotify and Myspace all allow for a variety of interaction and sharing between users, however, many of these features are forum or "wall writing" style. This is not to suggest that forum or wall interactivity is necessarily a bad thing, but part of Turntable.fm’s genius is bringing total strangers or friends together with real-time chat. People come together in these listening rooms where they can, in real time, vote on the awesomeness or lameness of the music being played, potentially boot a DJ from the stage, and talk about topics ranging from the current song to the likeliness of a Bachman/Palin 2012 ticket.
Commercial-Free Proletariat Power: Free content usually comes at a price and that price is usually being subjected to limited choice or forced commercial marketing. For example you can only skip so many songs before Pandora tells you that you have to wait to skip more, or on Hulu (even if you pay for a subscription) you are still stuck with commercials interrupting your viewing pleasure. Turntable.fm threw that whole concept out the door; not only is access to their extensive library of music totally free (read more about the legality of this here) but you can upload music from your own personal computer's library while accumulating your own Turntable Library, called a Queue, that can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. More importantly it is the users choosing what they want to listen to, whether or not the song at hand plays all the way or gets skipped; it gives the power of choice back to the users that they have too long been deprived of by the likes of Pandora. The power returns to the Proletariat.
Sheer AWESOMENESS:As soon as you log onto your first listening room, the aesthetics immediately exude the fun-factor. In fact, the word AWESOME is plastered in large lettering right at the bottom of the page. The clean design brings the “club experience” as close to your fingertips as possible without actually being there and, combined with the imaginative and fanciful character avatars, makes for not only an excellent community experience but a visually exciting and fun one. When in the "Classic Rock" Room this weekend I asked the users I was hanging out with "Why is turntable.fm awesome?" and I think their excited and frenzied responses capture its spirit:
rammerjammer: because music feeds the soul
CtrlAltDefeat: It combines pandora with grooveshark with social interaction and video games
DFWT: None of that Facebook credit nonsense.
mr2a: Music & making new pals
DFWT: It's FREE. and it appeals to all listeners.
The creators of turntable.fm saw what the people, their future users, wanted, and they continue to strive to create a social place that provides an interactive, realtime, all around fun and awesome experience.