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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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In Defense of “Insourcing” – Keep Social Media Efforts within a Company

*This was a guest blog post for AMP3 PR. External link here.

The business world is all about results – if a corporation doesn’t see results from a new employee or tactic, why continue to fund those efforts?

I would argue that social media is a bit different.

Some – especially social media experts – might defend the outsourcing of social media efforts. These people are trained to garner Twitter followers and Facebook fans for a company.

The company’s overall discourse must be changed from a declaration to a discussion, and social media is one of the cheapest, easiest and most interactive ways to do that.

If the discourse is to be changed, a conversation has to start.  A conversation is a personal form of communication, and for a personal tone, the communication must come from within the company.

I spoke with Dena Alspach, Group Publisher at Tiger Oak Publications, while working an event hosted by Wisconsin Bride, one of the magazines Tiger Oak publishes.

In an engaging discussion about social media, publishing and the nature of the journalism field altogether, Alspach stressed the need for messages to come from within the company.

Seeing “promoted” tweets generally turns consumers off from your product or brand, Alspach said. Many social media users avert their gaze when they see tweets that are “official” or “corporate” in appearance.

I agree with Alspach – no matter how completely someone is trained in the ways of a company, a third party will never be able to adequately dictate the personal tone that could come from an employee within the company.

Alspach also said that she, along with many others at each respective publication, have access to that publication’s social media outlets. She can update the Wisconsin Bride Twitter account, but so can the art director.

A profit-driven company can see results in social media outlets even without outsourcing their efforts to a third party. Because it is more personal, “insourcing” promotes a conversation with followers.

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Grading (Clarification)

I am grading these social media outlets on how effective I believe they are, I don’t have a standardized grading scale for these posts.

However, the website http://grader.com/ was introduced to me today (by a commenter!), and I think I am going to utilize this service for my blog.

The website “helps you measure and analyze your marketing efforts” by “grading” the reach and authority of a page.

My only qualm is that, while it grades both Facebook and Twitter, it has left MySpace in the dust.

Therefore, I will keep using my grading system for all outlets, but will also post the grader.com grades for Facebook and Twitter. They will not factor in to my overall grade of the musician, and I will look at the grader.com grades after I decide upon my own grades (so as not to skew my opinion).

 

Jackie OUT.

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Music + Social Media Case Study: Andrew Bird

As I mentioned in my ‘About Me’ section, I will be using this blog to explore how musicians use social media, and whether their uses are effective.

Case Study: Andrew Bird

Statistics
(as of 2/15/11 5:30 p.m.):

Facebook fans: 148,291

MySpace friends: 89,253

Twitter followers: 24,579

 

Facebook

Andrew Bird’s Facebook page is pretty average. His posts are mainly about his shows, with a few about his albums as well. He sprinkles in the occasional post urging his fans to get out and vote, or a post about a compilation CD that includes one of his tracks.

He has some basic information listed that includes: band members, record labels, various contacts, his website (http://www.andrewbird.net), and a link to his Twitter page.

It’s interesting to note that he doesn’t post a link to his MySpace page – Facebook and MySpace serve similar functions – but he links his Twitter. Hmm…

There are infinitely many fan posts, as is the case of any musician with a Facebook page.

He also employs an external application, BandPage, which has a music player (Bird uploaded four tracks), upcoming events and an integrated Twitter feed.

http://www.facebook.com/AndrewBirdMusic

Facebook page grade: B

(2/17 update) Grader.com Facebook page grade: 94 percent
(http://facebook.grader.com/page/grade?url=http://www.facebook.com/AndrewBirdMusic)

MySpace

The whistling troubadour’s MySpace page is quite filled out. He has multiple photo albums, 136 songs available for purchase, eight videos, upcoming shows, a blog feed, a “stream” that includes Twitter updates and other posts, and a comments box for fans.

However, the design leaves something to be desired, as he has a very plain gray background.

http://www.myspace.com/andrewbird

MySpace page grade: A-

Twitter

Bird’s Twitter page is pretty bare-bones. An extreme majority of his tweets are about his concerts, or tickets to sold-out shows. His Facebook and Twitter are linked so the posts are the same. Yay for synchronization of social media!

Bird has only tweeted 136 times, and his tweets are about one month apart.

One thing I liked about his Twitter page is that he follows many of the people that follow him. He is following 6,470 people, myself included! It really gives a sense of thankfulness for fans. Many artists don’t follow that many people (I know Kanye West was only following Justin Bieber for a while), so this is nice to see.

http://twitter.com/#!/andrewbird

Twitter page grade: C+

(2/17 update) Grader.com Twitter page grade: 100 percent
(http://twittergrader.com/andrewbird)


Andrew Bird’s overall social media grade: B

Bird uses all three of the social media outlets that I explore, but hasn’t mastered Twitter quite yet. His MySpace page is the strongest by far.

Bird’s social media use isn’t very personal, but with a little more fan interaction he might gather more followers in these outlets and keep fans more interested.

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Journalism 202 Blog – Personal Brand

Hello, all.

This blog will serve to promote my personal brand and I will update it as designated by Katy Culver, goddess of Journalism 202.

I hope that visitors will take something away from this page, and also contribute their ideas.

More updates to come…

Jackie

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