Back in college, I was a DJ at one of the local bars. It was a fun gig, and, at least in my selective memory, I had mad skills. Mad skills, I tell ya! I’d love to show my mix skills around the house, but my kids hate my Allman Brothers records about as much as I hated my parents’ lame Vic Damone LPs.
Now, maybe I can find a willing crowd, thanks to Turntable.fm. Turntable.fm lets you create shared listening rooms where you and your friends (or strangers, if you prefer) can take turns queuing up and playing songs. You can search for songs already on the site (I had mixed results doing this, with some songs being incomplete) or you can upload your own. The uploading process is fast and easy and, importantly, MP3 tags are recognized and processed accurately. Once you upload songs, they remain in your playlist until you remove them. There are limitations on how often artists can be played per hour, which indicates that the required licensing is in place.
I created the Rancho Room, dedicated to less known alt. country, southern rock, country rock, classic rock & whatever else sounds good. Some old-timers will recall the original Rancho Room, a chat room I developed, circa 1995, where we had some hilarious times back in the day. Anyone remember those collaborative stories we wrote?
The best way for social network fledglings to understand Turntable.fm is to imagine a shared, streaming radio station, with a rotating playlist created by the people in the room. I have no chance of getting enough friends in the room at the same time to create any kind of a real-time scene. But what I – and hopefully others- can do is upload some good songs, play them for my own ears when I want to hear them, and maybe some other folks will stop by to listen. If I can get a little traction, maybe some of my friends will create their own playlists and, who knows, if we happen to be listening at the same time, our songs will be meshed into a collaborative playlist.
There’s a rating feature for songs, but I haven’t enticed anyone else to create a playlist yet, so I ‘m not sure how it works. Once I get some of you onboard, we’ll try it out.
You can share your DJ status to Facebook or Twitter with a click of a button.
I’ve tried a lot of socially oriented music apps, and some of them are fun. But I haven’t seen any others with as much “fun” potential as Turntable.fm. In a universe of half-baked ideas tossed haphazardly into the social networking space, I think Turntable.fm is really onto something. I like this app. A lot.
At the end of the day, the Turntable.fm experience probably depends on your ability (or lack thereof) to get a core group of users to populate your room. You can probably solve this hurdle by creating a public room. I’m hoping to limit my room to people who enjoy the same sort of music I do, so the Rancho Room is unlisted for now (fear not, you are invited). I know a lot of people who love the same music I do. Can I get them to try the service? That’s a good question. At least there’s no way it will end as badly as my 2005 Flickr experiment did.
One thing I don’t like is that users have to sign up and in before they can visit a room. That seems like an unnecessary hurdle to growth. Sure, people should have to sign up to create a room, and maybe to DJ, but folks should have the ability to visit without signing up. An easy way to handle this would be to allow a limited number of “guest” listeners per room. I also don’t like the degree to which the service is tied to Facebook. If you have a Facebook Friend who uses the service, you’re in. But what if I want to invite a (lower case) friend who isn’t on Facebook? Does that work? I could make this app rock, but these limitations make it harder than it should be.
So. Do you like alt. country, southern rock, country rock and/or classic rock? If so, come on in and take a listen. If you like what I’m trying to do, drop me an email or Facebook message, and I’ll send you a DJ link (I have to have an email address to invite you to DJ, unless we are Facebook Friends).
Here’s my playlist, so far.
As a songwriter, tech blogger and music fan, Turntable.fm lies at the crossroads of my interests. I’m pretty excited about it.
Come on in, and take a listen.