Follow Us

DMN on Feedburner
Connect with:
divider image

Turntable’s Top Investor Explains Why the Whole Thing Failed…

deathofpandora

from the pages of Business Insider

Business Insider: Investing in a startup like Turntable has to be hard. You put money in and it seems like a rocket ship — then all of a sudden it tanks. What’s that like?

Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures: Well, I think we made a bunch of mistakes there, some of which I would blame on the board and some of which I would blame on the company.  But in general I think we did not react to the data. The problem with that service was people churned out of it very quickly.

People would come in, fall in love with it and then six to eight weeks later, they were done with it. We knew that pretty early on, but it was hidden by the fact that the number of people who were coming on board every day was higher than the number of people who were churning out. It looked good, but we actually knew that there was something about the service.

I think the problem was that it was too demanding.  You had to be in it. It was too social of an experience. What I think we could have done, if we had moved quickly, is that we could have created a passive listening experience. The reality is, if you’re into electronic music or Indie Rock music or Hip Hop or whatever, there were Turntable rooms that were creating as good of a passive listening experience as anything you could get on the internet, with these super-engaged small groups of users who were creating the streams. If there was a way to just put a Turntable room on and listen to it in the background, I think we could have built an interesting business. But we didn’t move to do that. We just stuck with it too long and it fizzled out.

BI: Spotify came out pretty soon after and stole some of the thunder.

Wilson: Spotify had been around. I think Spotify launched in the U.S., though, in a big way. I think those are different things. I don’t feel that that was the problem.

Someone told me a long time ago that 80% — and this number has been true since the dawn of recorded music — 80% of listening is when someone’s playing the music for you and 20% of listening is when you’re playing the music for yourself.

Vinyl records, CDs, MP3, iTunes and Spotify are experiences where I get to control what I’m listening to and Pandora or AM radio or FM radio is when someone plays the music for me.  I think there’s a huge market out there for, “I don’t really want to think about it.  I just want to listen.”  Pandora is huge.

I think with Turntable we just got that mix wrong.  But it was good while it lasted.

The rest of the interview is here.

blue bar background graphic
Comments (6)
  1. Henry Chatfield

    The rest of the interview is really long, but definitely worth reading, especially if you’re interested in venture capital even just a bit.


    Reply
    1. Paul Resnikoff

      Agreed. Great read, esp. if you’re in tech, investing, etc.


      Reply
  2. Frank

    The concept was a gimmick, users were bound to leave after watching their frat-bro play Drake for the 40th time.


    Reply
  3. Me

    Spotify had been around. I think Spotify launched in the U.S., though, in a big way. I think those are different things. I don’t feel that that was the problem.

    There were two reasons why I quit Turntable. I was tired of idiots voting down songs because they wanted their songs to play, and because Spotify launched and I could listen to whatever, whenever, and didn’t have to deal with other people’s bullshit.

    To think Spotify’s launch had nothing to do w/ Turntable’s demise is pure naivety and borderline delusional.


    Reply
  4. Sue Everson

    I was a latecomer to TT. I was introduced to it back in June of 2013 by my AD who opened a room for us designers to DJ and share music. I was taken by it for a while… found a few rooms, TT Chill and Indie While You Work, that I could put on at work and listen in the background (since i was not DJ-ing). There were always plenty of folks in those rooms. I even began DJ-ing myself a bit. Those 2 rooms were very open and encouraging. It was fun to get points for DJ-ing and to collect followers. I did find TT to be a bit distracting at work when someone would play an excellent tune (often) and I would have to switch over to my TT browser page to up-vote and grab the song. I found a lot of terrific music on TT that I never would have found on my own. Emancipator is one such group.

    I didn’t go back to TT much that Summer but by mid Fall I was listening again. I was really enjoying the service so much that I paid for the PRO when ads appeared on regular TT. After I paid for the service I became a more regular user. I had some terrific chats with other TT-ers. In one outing our late night group began playing only covers of pop music. Everyones contributions were awesome and the chats were epic. I even copied and saved the chat.

    I was even becoming interested in TT Live although I never had the opportunity to pay for a concert. I didn’t like the idea of paying for a concert in advance that may or may not take place.

    While some rooms always had plenty of listeners there would be MANY empty rooms. It was fun to go surfing and try and find new rooms with new music but the empty rooms were vey sad.

    I miss TT. It was a fun, immediate way to share music live with real people. Now and then I will go to Plug-DJ but currently I am listening to mixes I find in SoundCloud. I have never been a big fan of Spotify. I hate the commercials on Spotify regular but I don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription of anything (not even magazines). So online music for me is SoundCloud and RadioParadise. Even YouTube has long mixes of some interesting music.

    I didn’t go back to TT much that Summer but by mid Fall I was listening again. I was really enjoying the service so much that I paid for the PRO when ads appeared on regular TT. After I paid for the service I became a more regular user. I was even becoming interested in TT live although I never had the opportunity to pay for a concert. I was worried that I would pay to hear a live concert that wouldn’t take place because low interest. I didn’t like the idea of paying for a concert in advance that may or may not take place.

    I had some terrific chats with other TT-ers. In one outing our late night group began playing only covers of pop music. Everyones contributions were awesome and the chats were epic. I even copied and saved the chat.

    For awhile I


    Reply
  5. Mick Stanton

    It was so great that it came and went without me ever even hearing about it! But if I had’ve heard about it, I bet it would’ve been great…or not?!#?@! Whatever…there’s a jillion other websites doing the same thing in one way or another. Wha’cha gonna do?!?!


    Reply

Leave a Reply

Connect with:


× two = 14

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  1. OUR SPONSORS

  2.  
  3. Most Heated!