Turntable.fm: Music plus Friends

Turntable.fm Gorilla Bling

We’ve written about some of the big players in online music listening, now it’s time to give some attention to a new player on the scene: Turntable.fm.  Although Turntable.fm is still in beta (as of right now), chances are you can get in.  All you do is sign in via your Facebook account and if one of your friends is using Turntable.fm, then you can use it too!

Making Music Social

Turntable.fm offers something unique by bringing online music listening into the social realm.  When you go to the website, it will list multiple rooms playing different genres of music.  You get to see the current track being played, how many people are in the room, if the DJ table is full, and if any of your Facebook friends are listening.  Simply click to join a room and start listening to the tracks being played by five live DJs.

Choosing a Turntable.fm Room

Your Avatar

When you sign in, you will get to choose from a number of avatars that will represent you and your Turntable.fm status.

Turntable.fm Profile Example

If you click on someone’s avatar, a profile page like the one above will come up.  Under the person’s name are some social media buttons that let you check up on the lives of your musical buddies when they’re not DJing.  There are also sections where you can list your favorite artists and which room you can typically be found in on turntable.

Live DJs Strive to Please

As a turntable.fm DJ, there are plenty of reasons to keep your audience happy:

  • The Meter: The five DJs gauge the room by a meter at the bottom of the screen that goes from “Lame” to “Awesome.”  Click “Awesome” and your avatar will start to bob his head with the music and the DJ will get points (street cred) for picking a great song.  If enough people “Lame” the current track, the DJ will change it – instant gratification.

Awesome to Lame Meter

  • DJ Points: The more your audience “Awesomes” your song selections, the more DJ points you get.  With more and more DJ points, you can unlock different levels of avatars (for example, 1000-9999 points will get you a blinged-out gorilla, 10000+ points gets you a stark-white spacesuit, and the enigmatic category “Superusers” get to choose one of two futuristic helmets).
  • Fans: If you find a DJ that is your musical soul mate, you can click to become a fan.  You will then get email notifications whenever that DJ steps up to play a room (this feature can be turned off if you already get more emails than you know what to do with).

When you feel more comfortable with the site and its rules (written and unwritten), you can try your hand at being a DJ.  Simply add songs to your DJ queue on the panel on the right of your screen, wait for a DJ seat to open up and then make sure to monitor the room’s reactions to your choices!

Turntable.fm DJ Table

Pros:

  • Tons of music – great for finding new bands
  • Listen with your friends
  • Built-in chat lets you talk about songs and bands
  • Please a crowd with your superb music tastes
  • “Fan” a DJ and get email updates when he/she is playing a room
  • No ads or commercials (yet)

Cons:

  • Not passive music listening – you will never get any work done ever again
  • Built-in chat and “Lame” button make it easy for music snobs and spammers to be annoying (although, you can create private rooms that only people with the link can enter)
  • Can only play a specific song if you’re a DJ
  • Can only play 4 songs by an artist in a 3-hour period
  • No mobile app yet

For me, the pros far outweigh the cons.  There is nothing like finding the right room where you love every song and want to fan every DJ.  The only thing better might be the feeling you get being the DJ who picked the song that got every little funny-shaped avatar head in the room rocking out.

There’s only one thing on my Turntable.fm wish list: enough with the head-bobbing, make my avatar dance.

Have you tried turntable.fm?  Are you hooked?  Share your favorite Turntable.fm features in the comments below!