I Was a Turntable.fm Fanboy. And Here’s Why the Company Really Failed…

So was it the model that doomed Turntable, or the execution?  Here’s a comment from one of Turntable.fm’s most die-hard followers, on what caused her to leave.


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32 Responses

  1. Casey

    I never even started using Turntable.fm. Their marriage to Facebook made it impossible for me to use their service. By the time the restriction was lifted, I didn’t care anymore. It is one of the only music services I have not used because the company’s stupid ideas. The other being Rara.

    This company has been making wrong moves since the beginning.

  2. Jonathan Sasse

    I still believe that Turntable is a feature of something bigger. But there are elements of what they did, especially for the curators and wannabe curators that could easily become a compelling addition to any number of existing music services.

  3. Jordan Mendell

    “Man.. I totally called this.. Gotta pull up email from a few years ago. I believe I said “fad”.”

  4. JT

    The idea was good but crap execution. These guys are not music people. They were techies who had leftover funding from a failed QR code product. Nonetheless, if they knew or even cared about the music, as much as they cared about building avatars they might have had a chance.

  5. JJJ

    I find it amusing that somebody like Princess Ponyo can get so upset about a service that was used for FREE FOR 18 MONTHS and, in the same breath, that they can have such a hard time understanding why that same service doesn’t have the resources to make it a better experience for them. And somehow these users feel “pissed on” in the process?

    If that doesn’t say enough of today’s digital culture, I don’t know what does.

    • Anonymous

      Amen to JJJ. It’s a shame Paul gave this misinformed fan a soap box, when she clearly has no idea what goes into keeping a company afloat.

      Turntable is a FREE service! Industry insiders have every right to criticize this company and its decisions, but the sense of false entitlement that comes with a user feeling “pissed on” is simply laughable.

      • Central Scrutinizer

        Isn’t Princess Ponyo a perfect representative of the consumer of the next generation ?

    • Casey

      Being free has no bearing on how well a service works. They recieved more than enough funding from investors to make the service stable and functional. It’s all about priorities.

    • JimmyRocks

      Really JJJ..I was a heavy user once..I spent countless hours hosting a room building a following for the love of people and the music..I’ve been on just about all the music services and TT.fm was by far the best for hearing the best tunes..When the Dj’s got in a groove all the tunes melded and jived with one another because tunes were picked by people not an algorithm.Yes it was free so that gives me no right to bitch? I would have gladly payed to use it or watch ads if the stupid management would have come up with a way to it early on…TT.fm never had any rules just an FAQ section that expressed what they didn’t like..One of their biggest problems was telling users in the FAQ to use the lame button if they didn’t like a tune and turned right around and let countless rooms make rules against it..New users were kicked out of rooms for doing what TT.fm said to do..How stupid is it to offend and run off new users in the first 15 minutes..? Most of what they expressed they didn’t like was enforced but not all..no consistency..Point is they pissed off a lot people..They let 3rd party developers create extensions and addons that hard core users loved and didn’t work with them as changes were made..Causing things not to work..That’s not caring about your users..period..All they had to do was give users the ability to spin anything they wanted mostly error free in a friendlier environment and charged for it..It would have been amazing.

      • REMatwork

        I think you’re exactly right.

        What makes this worse than just another failed app is that it was a failed opportunity.

        However, beyond the malfeasance of TT’s operators, to be fair to those operators, one cannot separate this discussion from the staggering licensing costs, which put excruciating pressure on developers. Without solving that problem, … ( or allowing the trolls to hoot down even any *discussion* of that problem) … other worthy apps can and will go down the tubes.

    • TBW

      “If that doesn’t say enough of today’s digital culture, I don’t know what does. ”

      It sure does — and no amount of complaining about is going to change it. Now, from the perspective of someone who makes his living int his world, I would advise this: Accept it, embrace it, and work with it. And for God’s sake, think about it and understand it — because I see a big disconnect in your understanding of how this culture thinks and operates.

      Incidentally, did you have the same complaints when the song “57 channels and nothing on” was broadcast? Oh when people complained about shock jock talk show DJs? This is not the first (not is it the second or third) decade where people have voiced issues with “free” services.

  6. REMatwork

    I was a fanboy too. Huge! I loved the Power Pop, Soul, Psychedelic, Garage, “Dusties”, Rockabilly rooms, and I invented and curated the “Say It and Get Out: Songs Under 2:20 room.”

    There were some really smart people on TT with some really great collections of music. The idea of getting your friends to join turntable, howver, was a nonstarter. It was always going to be early adopters. So you had to try to meet new musical friends who had tastes similar to yours. The algorithm should’ve encouraged those new friendships, and get like-minded people to flock together … but it didn’t, really. And they never tweaked. (I agree it was a lack of developers, not designers).

    Look, there is no reason to give up on turntable just because of the licensing. We, at the Digital Content Exchange, have built a third-party clearinghouse which verifies ownership of tracks (we DONT scan the track for indicia of ownership … that’s a failed method … we use registration like the stock exchange does).

    A person will always have a right to play music that he or she owns. If everyone cooperates,and when they step up to DJ plays only music that they truly own, getting a license for music you do not own is unnecessary.

    Think about it: does a DJ in a nightclub license music? Steal music? Or play music that he has collected?

    The DCE through registration, immobilization, and verification empowers the individual to share legally, music youve collected.

    Our slide deck:

    • hippydog

      Wow, you should really do some research before making statements like that..

      “Think about it: does a DJ in a nightclub license music? Steal music? Or play music that he has collected? ”

      the avg nightclub DJ (on the lower end) are some of the worst offenders of pirated music.. Many DJ’s actually believe that they shouldnt have to pay for music because ‘like the radio’ they are promoting the music..

      The higher end DJ’s are usually getting their music from a legal source (PromoOnly, PrimeCuts) or getting it directly from the labels.. If its being “lent ” and not ‘given’ which is how most promo distros work, does it count as “collected”..

      and yes, there is a third type that actually DOES collect music (buys the original CD, LP, Itunes, etc) but they are actually pretty rare..

        • TBW

          That would be an example of the logical errror “Ad Hominem”. The speaker of an argument does not affect its validity. Make your point or GTFO. As it stands, you are a troll.

  7. REMatwork

    Licensing/RIAA issues were mentioned as a culprit several times.

    Licensing killed the Internet Star…

    Just imagine if, in order to do what a used record store does, what a library does, or what every mom-and-pop video rental store in the 70s, 80s and 90s did, you had to have licenses with all the video, book and music companies, renegotiated at regular intervals. I suggest that none of those three types of businesses would even exist. Yes, even the Carnegie Library. So the, Internet as it now stands, is, less efficient ironically than the physical world for promoting “the Progress of Science and useful Arts” (copyright clause) … Because of the constant licensing negotiations.

    It is time to work together on a standard, once and for all, that allows for the ownership of a copy of a song, movie, book or game on the Internet. Whether accessed from a cloud or your hard drive. What have we got to lose at this point? Nothing else is working! See above. Also see today’s Wired blog:

    20 years of fruitlessness, and industries dying on the vine, is all we have to lose.

    Our invention would make digital lending and sharing more akin to what worked in the physical world … Only quicker and more convenient.

    This CAN work. There would not be a stock market today, trading shares digitally at a rate of 700 million per day on the NYSE alone, if it could not work.

    • hippydog

      is there any way you and tunehunter can pay for an Ad on this site instead of spamming us?


      • REMatwork

        I have added more content than you have.

        You even know what turntable.FM is? Give us a description of what it is, otherwise we who have added content will just assume you’re trolling.

        Looking forward to your response.

        Ta, very much

        ps don’t cut and paste from Wikipedia

        • hippydog

          You say content.

          I say spam..

          ” Give us a description of what it is, otherwise we who have added content will just assume you’re trolling”

          ^Worst Threat Ever..^

          I cant stop you from selling “product”, nor would I want too..

          I just think its stupid for all these people who think they can “sell” there new shiny tech product to the artists via a forum..

          If you truly believe in it.. buy an advert., or write an article (I betcha five bucks paul will post it)..

          but constantly posting in a forum or comments to sell something? your just annoying the very people your trying to sell to.

          • REMatwork

            You say “advert” which means you’re not from the US but rather from the UK which means you’ve could have never used turntable.fm which means you are a troll.

            So what makes you hate people who want to solve the monetization of media problem that much that you invade a topic not meant for you?

          • hippydog

            Sherlock H. your not..

            I’m not from the UK..

            I used “Advert.” as a short form of Advertisement, because I was being lazy..

            Quote “So what makes you hate people who want to solve the monetization of media problem ”

            Because they use words like “monetization of media problem”

            which annoys me.. 🙂

          • REMatwork

            “I used “Advert.” as a short form of Advertisement,”

            Yes I know you did. Its a British short form of advertisement. The American short form is “ad”.

            Once again, “turntable.FM is not available outside the United States” ~ T&C

            And you still haven’t told us ONE THING about turntable.FM. We are still waiting…. “mate”.

          • REMatwork

            If I am spamming, at least I have a reason to be on this board.

            You, on the other hand, since you have refused 7 invitations to tell us what turntable.fm is, have no reason to be here unless you are a self-appointed anti-spam crusader, patroling the internet to punish wrongdoers on whatever comment thread you may find them, “fighting a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the Amer- (oops) British way.”

          • hippydog

            Quote “to tell us ”

            Us? really? Are you an official representation of this “board”?

            Or perhaps you simply have multiple personalities?

            or do you like to just talk in the third person?

          • REMatwork

            “or do you like to just talk in the third person?”

            Except “us” is not the third person. It’s the first person.

            Now the picture becomes clearer as to why you have so much time on your hands. Oi!

  8. SoSimpull

    Do you even TT bro. I wouldnt say poyo is a die hard or at least i doubt actual hardcore TT users would agree.

  9. Sapient

    It should probably be noted that “Princess Ponyo” is trying to launch a competitor to turntable.fm so all comments should be taken with a grain of salt, in my opinion.

    Convenient, isn’t it?

  10. Princess Ponyo

    It is 100% true I have a an open source replacement I’m working on, but it was only started out of frustration from the prior, piss poor product. If turntable would have worked, freetable would never have been started.

    2nd, die hard or not, I’ll leave that up to the people that actually know me. I’ve created bots that have been open sourced, I created a turn key bot solution, and i’ve also created other things like turntablefixer for fixing id3 tags. Not to mention the dozens of developers and administrators i’ve helped along the way and encouraged.

    I did pay for gold, I did pay for turntable customs, they were paid from donations people had given me for either helping them with problems or just because I’m a pretty decent person if you actually got to know me instead of puffing you chest up on a very dissociated message board you’d know this. Just look at the neurobots facebook group and you can see that or hell the freetable group page.

    The point is, when I made the first posting, I wasn’t shy about acknowleding who I was so people wouldn’t think I was trying covertly spin something. Very few things I feel so attached to as I do my music, and I have done everything I can in my power to protect, enchance and invite people into the community that is turntable. I have helped countless newbs learn the game and i’ve got following of wonderful people to show for it.

    So to say i’m just some angry nothing standing on a soap box is wildly untrue. I’ve got bots in 55 rooms. I’ve got an average of 5 – 15 people in my development room at any time. I created the bot service as a free service for anyone and until it was massively abused and I was forced to change to a payment system ( which is only $20 a year to cover server costs ). I’ve got well over 1,000 hours into this system. I created turntablefixer as a free tag fixing service. I’ve made just about $800 total including just donations in the last year and 95% of that has gone to server costs alone. Just last night I looked and noticed between the two sites I had over 130,000 hits. So you tell me, is this all some way to spin some crazy agenda, or just some diehard trying to put their $0.02 in where they can help?

    No offense, but what did you do except try to cut someone down on a message board?