The DJ chat room experience Turntable.fm may be climbing out of its early grave with help from its founder.
Billy Chasen, Turntable.fm’s original founder, is seemingly back and at the helm of the project. Chasen announced the virtual DJ product was shutting down in 2013. Turntable.fm featured rooms where users could curate a music experience for their audience. But the removal of the ability to upload music essentially killed the service in an era where streaming was starting to find its roots.
Now it appears there are two versions of the Turntable.fm experiment coming back.
The original Turntable.fm site is back and password-protected for now. Turntable.org also exists and will reportedly launch a beta this April 2021. Turntable.org is the newest iteration of the project and appears to have a subscription fee attached. The original Turntable.fm site appears to be largely unchanged from the 2013 version.
Turntable.fm allows users to create a virtual chat room and select the music that is playing. Anyone who joins the chat room will hear the music. The song selection for the app appears to be limited to YouTube videos for now. SoundCloud integration appears to be ‘coming soon,’ but it’s not working in app right now.
Turntable.fm wants to try its hand at the virtual DJ market – Fortnite and Roblox are dominating, though.
Both Fortnite and Roblox have built virtual stages for their artist collaborations. Turntable.fm is counting on you being interested enough to seek out an invite to listen to the service. There are a few updates, like ‘GameStop’ stickers for the DJ laptop and masks for avatars.
Users can request access to Turntable.fm by sending an email that includes your favorite song. The form says users who select a good song will receive an invite. That’s a pretty subjective way of sending out invites and anyone could get one.
It will be interesting to see how a site like Turntable.fm can survive in a drastically changed industry. Spotify and other streaming services now dominate the music industry landscape versus physical sales. But the one area where Turntable.fm might be superior? Human-curated playlists and experiences instead of algorithms that think it knows what you want.
I’ve signed up for the site with Nicki Minaj’s “Chun-Li” as my current favorite song. We’ll see if I get an invite or not. The virtual DJ experience has room to grow as live experiences that take place in a browser are infinitely more accessible than those that require a game download.