Turntable.fm is definitely one of the hottest and most discussed startups around right now, but can it survive it’s own popularity. The co-founders behind Turntable.fm, Billy Chasen and Seth Golstein were previously focused StickyBits, a service that allowed users to create barcodes that when scanned would link to a user’s stories or contact information.
So, what is Turntable.fm?
Turntable.fm has only been open to the public since May and had amassed 140,000 users in it’s first month and it’s been reported that there are 300,000+ users now. It’s basically a browser-based chatroom featuring up to 5 DJs that rotate their music choices for the audience of avatars. The audience votes whether the DJ’s music choice is ‘Lame’ or ‘Awesome’ and points are awarded. Listeners can choose to follow a DJ and add the current song to their DJ queue. All listeners can be DJs, they can be invited by the moderator of a room or they create a room on their own and invite their friends.
The first time I saw Turntable.fm, I was immediately reminded of the dance parties in SecondLife. The region’s owner would stream music from their desktop as dozens of SecondLife avatars grooved and chatted publicly and privately alongwith the tunes.
Over the past few weeks Turntable.fm has seen artists like Talib Kweli and Diplo drop by to DJ and show off new tracks. Ra Ra Riot leadman Matthew Santos recently premiered his new solo album ‘Massachusetts 2010 to a room of listeners.
The site features MediaNet’s library of more than 11 million tracks, and anything that is missing can be uploaded by a user and added to their DJ queue. User’s can purchase tracks by clicking through to iTunes.
Unfortunately access to Turntable.fm was shut off in late June for users outside of the U.S. due to music licensing issues. Whether this is resolved quickly, no one knows and it’s probably not even a priority for the company at this time. Afterall Pandora has been blocked since 2007.
If you do get a chance to use the site, Chicago blogger Daniel Honigman has put together a helpful list of Turntable.fm etiquette.