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October 3, 2013 8:38 AM   Subscribe

When Turntable.fm launched in 2011 it served as a unique way to listen to music virtually with friends on the web. It works on the basis of groups that let users play music on virtual decks with a queue system, chat room, and the ability to search and upload music. Two years after its introduction, its creators are fighting to keep it alive.
posted by Potomac Avenue (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Early on, we decided to partner with the labels and do everything by the book.

Well, that explains a lot.
posted by philip-random at 8:59 AM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Aargh no where will we have our late-night MetaChat deep house / trance parties now?
posted by 1adam12 at 9:14 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


My friends and I have been doing a "Turntable Friday" every week for at least a year. (Sorry, employers.) It's a great site but the death of the upload feature, while understandable from a business perspective, killed it for us.

Last week we moved to plug.dj. It plays tracks directly from YouTube and Soundcloud, putting the onus of copyright on those huge sites and not on plug.dj. That means the site is open to non-US countries, and you'll never log on and see songs snatched out of your playlists by labels. (It also has a much worse UI than Turntable.)

I really wish there were more options for collaborative media consumption online. (Netflix, when can I watch a movie simultaneously with friends?) I loved Turntable, and I'm really sorry to see it's not going so well. I think they bit off more than they can chew, though.
posted by jess at 9:19 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


The concept of Turntable.fm is really great, it's basically IRC + people playing music from their own music collection. I'm not really surprised that they are running into financial problems because aside from the "Pay whatever you want to get fancy new avatars" thing they put in recently and the "Buy this on Amazon" links there's not really any way for them to make money off of it.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:28 AM on October 3, 2013


The concept of Turntable.fm is really great, it's basically IRC + people playing music from their own music collection.

The flip side of that is that it's a great opportunity to find out that everyone thinks your favorite band sucks in real time, as they listen to it.
posted by LionIndex at 9:33 AM on October 3, 2013


Well then you should like better bands :) :kitten:
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:34 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Potomac Avenue: ":kitten:"

FYI : :3
posted by boo_radley at 9:38 AM on October 3, 2013


I used to listen on turntable.fm but then ran into too many problems with turntable and I have slowly just listened to more Pandora instead. while the idea was cool, I get consistently enjoyable songs on Pandora with no problems.
posted by Jaelma24 at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2013


I think there are a lot of important business lessons to learn from their decline, especially for other entertainment apps and businesses. I think killing the upload feature or limiting it to begin with would have saved a lot of money that they now desperately need.

Moreover how could a thing that everyone likes and many people use fanatically lose so much money? If I was a founder I would use the opportunity to rethink the entire Start-up model. Getting a big influx of cash at the start of a business with ability to give users exactly what they want as fast as they want it to corner the market isn't necessarily going to make your company succeed in the long run.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2013


I thought there was a MeFi post when this launched; I know I've played around on it with MeFites, but maybe I heard about it somewhere else. Shame that ads couldn't keep it going, but this really does seem to be the sort of thing that needs to be done under the radar and without the labels. Remember, they tried to kill mixtapes and used record stores too.
posted by klangklangston at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2013


We had some good times together, hip-hop gorilla.
posted by box at 9:55 AM on October 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


I preferred ListeningRoom.Net, which I believe metafilter introduced me to around the same time TurnTable showed up. The creator killed it, moved on to other projects. (No doubt because of lawyers)

*wistful sigh* I wish I had the code for that running somewhere in the cloud. Just a sharable link and voila, IRC+SoundTrack
posted by DigDoug at 9:58 AM on October 3, 2013


Spotify's next :crying_cat_face:
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:58 AM on October 3, 2013


I really wanted to use this two years ago when I first heard about it, but I feel like it took them a long time to take it out of Beta and make it publicly available.
posted by forkisbetter at 9:59 AM on October 3, 2013


Spotify's next :crying_cat_face:

If Spotify is next then I'm so boned. I don't think I've bought or downloaded any music since it came out and have been hosting pretty much every new piece of music I've discovered on playlists I keep on it. I happily pay for premium.

I don't know why I thought letting some 3rd party keep all of my music in "the cloud" was a good idea, but the convenience makes it seem worth it.

That said, sucks to hear about TT - used to use it a lot with coworkers and it would really brighten slow days at work. Now work is so fast I don't have nearly enough time, though I do miss having the perfect song queued up, waiting my turn, finally playing it and everyone in the room going "hey, this is awesome!" and feeling all good about yourself for having perfect taste in music. I hope they manage to keep the site alive somehow.
posted by windbox at 10:15 AM on October 3, 2013


This is especially disheartening since this is where many of my MeFite friends from the late, great Glitch congregate now.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Getting rid of the upload feature ruined it for me, but I used to love it.
posted by empath at 12:00 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had countless hours of fun on Turntable. I'm surprised people used the upload feature so much. It took precious time and wouldn't play my uploaded tracks half the time anyway, so I mostly stuck to the existing library, which is pretty vast. The site still sounds perfectly usable, though for how long is anyone's guess.
posted by naju at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2013


Such a shame. I've had a lot of great conversations with people on there and found some awesome music.
posted by tnecniv at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2013


I've made some IRL friends off there from a room I happened to find of music nerds, too. Which begs the question: Metafilter, what is best in web? Is it to conquer? Or to endure?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


To crush your beats, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the sucker mcs.
posted by klangklangston at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Spotify should just buy them. It's already most of the way there. Why not have social listening rooms in the software and on Facebook?
posted by msbutah at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I didn't know uploading was nixed, but it explains the new soundcloud icons in the lists. I've only ever uploaded four or five songs; does soundcloud prevent uploading certain things?
posted by Room 641-A at 4:13 PM on October 3, 2013


I haven't visited turntable.fm in a long time, but, when I was a regular user, I played uploaded stuff almost exclusively. In the old-school hip-hop/breaks-and-beats rooms where I usually hung out, so did almost everybody else. Where have you gone, Boogiefever and Mighty Joe Thun?
posted by box at 5:29 PM on October 3, 2013


(holds on for grim death)

Still part of a weekly hang out! Dunno what I'll do with Thursday nights if it disappears :(
posted by Moehr Ossum at 7:15 PM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


does soundcloud prevent uploading certain things?

They have the standard labels' audio fingerprint checking.

IE They will take down anything that has a song a label who cares about such things says is theirs, including if it's in a mix.

(In contrast, the producers of tracks I put in my mixes end up following me. Seems more sensible to ME)
posted by flaterik at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Spotify should just buy them.

Why should Spotify bother? Just wait for them to die, then pick up the users for free. Lower expectations that way too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:23 PM on October 3, 2013


I'm surprised people used the upload feature so much.

I had a lot of stuff that wasn't in the library, including unreleased stuff from friends that I would get murdered for uploading to soundcloud.
posted by empath at 8:44 PM on October 3, 2013


Man, this is too bad. I loved turntable and even made some pseudo-friends there. Found out about a lot of good music from using it.
posted by threeants at 12:00 PM on October 4, 2013


I'm surprised people used the upload feature so much.

I used it almost exclusively. Most of what I wanted to play was pretty new dance music; they almost never had it in their library.
posted by flaterik at 8:17 PM on October 5, 2013


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