Turntable.fm is a music streaming & sharing application that allows users to create rooms with up to 5 DJ’s to rotate songs within their own particular music genre(s) of choice. It was recently featured in TechCruch as the latest early adopter addiction.
Words cannot do justice to explain just how addicting this app is especially when you’re at the tables in a room full of people. You find yourself feeling that anticipation a DJ must feel when they are up on the tables, beat matching song after song, hoping to see the floor moving. “Will they like my song? Will they hate it? Oh no, they aren’t dancing! They must hate it. Oh wait, there’s one person dancing now, now another… Ok, ok, this is going to be ok.” Now you may wonder “but how do people ‘dance’ virtually?” I’m glad you asked for Turntable.fm has thought of that. Users dance when they click the awesome button on the application. DJ’s can get booted if the audience clicks lame enough times. Awesome clicks win you DJ points which allow you to get bigger and bigger advatars.
Like most things social, human behavior factors into the enjoyment of the app. In this case, users have created their own rules for some rooms. One of the most popular rooms “80’s Play 3 & Step Down”, was started by one user with the rule that you can only play 3 songs then you must step down. The moderation of the room passes from one person to the next to ensure the queue stays constant and consistent with new users stepping up and stepping down based on whether or not they have already played 3 songs. This rule started because users found that many of the DJs would just stay on the tables even long after rooms would fill up, never giving others a chance to step up and spin.
On the flip side it was interesting to step into some of the other rooms which were less considerate. I stepped into the country room and watched as one DJ got “lamed” out of their seat at the tables including chants from the crowd, “Lame her out. Click lame! Do it. This is miserable. Lame! Lame! Lame!” Crowds can be brutal. But I imagine it to be no different in some ways to being a real DJ in a real club. All you can hope for is that people like what you play.
Turntable runs on the Amazon EC2 servers and occasionally has trouble with lag, songs won’t play or will play a different song then the user has queued, and could use some way of customizing rooms a bit more by adding rules around how many songs you can play so more users get a turn. I’d also like to see other ways of integrating my music to the DJ queues (uploads don’t always work so perhaps a partnership with iTunes &/or Youtube. In fact, might be fun to have a Video DJ in the same room spinning video). Private messaging would be nice too if they can also create a way to block a user from communicating with you. A random button would also be quite nice so when you add your songs in you can click random and they will shuffle.
Much like Guitar Hero played to our dreams of being rock stars, Turntable, plays into our dreams of being a DJ, and it does it really well. I’d love to see it affect the real world with DJ spin offs in the clubs. Would be quite fun I think.