Turntable.fm – a short review

I generally live by a rule that goes something like this: if Mashable‘s talking about it, I should probably know about it.

After seeing multiple @Mashable tweets talking about this new site called Turntable.fm, I decided to investigate. And boy, did I like what I found.

As a music junkie, aspiring DJ (okay, more like I hog whomever’s computer is pumping out tunes at a party and know how to fade songs in/out) and social media nerd, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about this site. Here’s my preliminary review.

Site Layout

The site is divided into user-created “rooms” that each follow a genre. The main page lists all of the rooms and what’s currently playing, but a user can choose to create his/her own room as well. Each room usually has five DJs, while everyone else in the room is just listening. If there is an empty DJ spot, a yellow “Play Music” bubble appears on the DJ booth. The right-side panel has a chat function to discuss what’s playing (or anything, really) with other listeners.

If you’re listening

If you choose to simply listen, the site functions similarly to Pandora, playing songs under a similar theme. However, instead of a thumbs up/thumbs down function, there’s a “rock-ometer” of sorts, where users can click “Lame” or “Awesome” to rate the current song. If the user clicks “Awesome,” the current DJ gets a “DJ point,” and the listener’s icon bobs its little head.

If you’re DJing

If you’re DJing, it’s your job to select the music and make sure it fits with the room’s theme. The DJ must select (by searching or uploading) music to place in his/her queue (on right panel above chat). DJs can observe how well the room enjoys the current song by monitoring the room vote (percentage of like to dislike, generally hovering around 50 percent) or by simply seeing how many avatars are bobbing their heads along to the music! This is a great way for a DJ to “test out” his/her music on a crowd – to see what people enjoy listening to and what they’d rather stab drumsticks through their ears than listen to.

What does this mean for advertising/PR?

This site could mean interesting things for the world of PR/advertising. I can forsee DJs, artists and venues using TT as a form of promotion.

For example: A concert venue or club (I’m going to use the Project Lodge in Madison, WI as an example) creates an account (ex: ProLoMadison), and DJs in a few rooms with themes fitting to the artists/bands that play at the ProLo. Other users see the type music generally associated with the ProLo, and that’s instant (free!) advertising.

One of my favorite bands, Guster, has gotten a jump on things and is already interacting with Turntable.fm (hey…can I join your PR team, Guster??).

The band has decided, as announced through Twitter and discussed in this Vh1 article, to debut new songs from their On The Ocean EP in a TT room. WHAT a cool idea. The band gives a little something to its listeners, a taste-test of their new album – and if they like it, maybe they’ll decide to purchase a copy on iTunes. Turntable.fm also benefits by gaining at least a few new users.

However, the site also has share buttons – Facebook, Twitter and email – for promotion by the users themselves. Here’s an example tweet:

“@jackiepecquex: DJing in the here try it room. Come hang out. Now playing Radio Killer: Be Free ♫♪ #turntablefmhttp://t.co/1bMEvnL


What’s missing?

What I would add to Turntable.fm:

-an option to save rooms that fit your tastes, so you can return at a later time

-more interactivity among users, maybe a wall or messaging function

-a more sophisticated queue feature, an easier uploader. This will come with time, I’m sure.

-better avatars…the current ones are a little creepy.


Right now TT.fm is in invite-only beta. If you have a Facebook friend who’s already rockin’ out on TT, just connect with Facebook and you’re in (my friends, that’s YOU!)

The soundtrack to this post: Indie folk room on Turntable.fm

Oh, and in case you want to join in on the Guster fun tonight, here’s the TT room. The party starts at 9 p.m. EST, today (7/26/11).


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