Prayer, or Pivot? Turntable.fm Is Now Trying a Radically Different Programming Approach…

If only ’embracing failure’ was as easy as Silicon Valley makes it out to be. Because it seems that all the quick-footed success of Turntable.fm could be hamstringing this company’s ability to quit the race, and stop burning cash.

But wait: are we quitting on Rocky too soon?  Despite depressingly-deep traffic drops with scant signs of recovery, executives insist that there’s an overhaul in the works.  And just last month, the company supersized its listening rooms to accommodate more than 200 avatars at a time.

That was a small taste of things to come.  Because the biggest part of this pivoted programming approach is just getting started.  Say hello to Piki (piki.fm), a total revamp that imitates Pandora but uses content from other Turntable.fm friends.  The result is designed to be a more social listening experience, and one that imitates more successful apps and services (guess avatar DJ’ing is too niche, after all).

So, instead of a lifeless genome machine, the Piki ‘machine’ is your friends and their tastes, complete with the ability to pick, ‘repick,’ and dedicate songs and display your taste to others.  Which vaguely resembles Spotify’s Facebook integration, with a far more interactive twist.

Here’s a quick primer.

But wait, there’s more: because instead of rooms that revolve around genres or homegrown celebrity DJs (like DJ Wooooo), Turntable is also now bringing the actual artist into the arena.  It’s a little celebrity sprinkled over the masses, in a major way.  “Throughout the month of December, dozens of your favorite artists are scheduled to appear in our newly redesigned rooms for some very special DJ sets and chatting,” the group emailed Digital Music News this morning.  “We’ve got singers, bands and DJs from all corners of the musical universe.”

Like who?  Introducing the Turntable Winter Festival, which features a few names you might recognize.  The beefed-up rooms now allow unlimited participants, though the first 200 will be able to chat with the artist (check turntable.fm/events for showtimes).

It’s all part of a year-plus overhaul designed to bring Turntable closer towards more successful apps, artists, and experiences.  And if all goes well, Turntable wants to narrow the ever-yawning gap between itself and frontrunners like Pandora and Spotify.

Prayer, or pivot?

 

Written while listening to The Gaslight Anthem.

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