Turntable.fm slows to a stop

Monday, November 25, 2013 - 2:00pm

After about two years and over 400-million songs, Turntable.fm is surrendering to high costs and the challenges of monetizing streaming music. As noted in RAIN, Turntable.fm launched a live-concert listening feature earlier this year. In a note to users, the service announced that it would concentrate exclusively on the concert business, Turntable Live.

Moving from recordings to concerts allows turntable.fm to work directly with bands who seek greater exposure generally, and a geographically unrestricted audience for live shows. On the licensing side, direct deals with artists eliminates statutory royalty costs of playing recordings. 

Turntable.fm provides a virtual reality, avatar-based, group listening “room” environments. About a million rooms have been set up since the service launched in 2011.

Turntable.fm enters the concert streaming space

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 10:45am

Turntable.fm is an interactive music service, but could more aptly be described as a social network focused on music. Started in 2011, the site formerly allowed users to upload shareable music on the site. Using the DMCA as a licensing tactic is legitimate, but that strategy that comes with endless legal difficulties. Adroitly, Turntable.fm offloaded the DMCA liability (and file-hosting expense) to SoundCloud, an upload-and-share music warehouse.

Searching around for a new hook to attract and retain users, Turntable.fm has lined up a series of concert events that will provide unique listening content and a new revenue model. Bands in the series control the funding for the live stream; tickets for virtual viewing cost three dollars. The signature Turntable.fm social experience holds for the live concerts -- virtual spaces, avatars, cheers, and jeers.

Here is the concert lineup for October. 

Struggling Turntable.fm to launch Pandora-like web radio

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 1:10pm

Turntable.fmMusic streaming service Turntable.fm is apparently in trouble. The site was a hit in summer 2011: "Spotify is great, but Turntable.fm is amazing," wrote the New York Times. "[Turntable.fm] has upended how I listen to music."

But "then traffic started falling. By autumn, it dwindled to less than half its peak," writes Inc. Digital Music News wrote about the trend in February (RAIN coverage here). The founders of the site "agree the music fans are still out there." The question is how to get them back.

The answer, they think, is Pandora-like Internet radio. "It will be something like Pandora, but with playlists based on the recommendations of the user’s Turntable friends," Inc. writes of the project, codenamed Kiwi. "This will attract passive listeners interested in hearing friends’ favorites, just not chatting or collecting points in a live Turntable room."

Turntable.fm offers users the ability to listen to music in real-time with other users (RAIN coverage here).

You can find Inc.'s coverage here and more from HypeBot here.

Turntable.fm is the latest music streaming service that sees potential in the Internet radio model. Rdio and Spotify are also reportedly developing Pandora-like services (RAIN coverage here and here).

Turntable.fm forgoes hope of statutory licensing, signs direct deals with major labels

Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 11:40am

Turntable.fmInnovative web music service Turntable.fm has reached licensing deals with the four major labels, "allowing it to leave the legal gray zone it had been operating in and expand into international markets," writes the New York Times. We reported in September that such licensing discsussions were underway (here).

"Basically this means we’re legitimate," said the company's chairman Seth Goldstein. Turntable.fm apparently had planned to operate under a DMCA license, like those used by non-interactive webcasters. However, these latest deals, directly with the copyright owners, are likely more similar to deals services like Spotify, Rdio, and MOG have entered.

Turntable.fm allows users to essentailly act like a radio DJ, playing hand-picked music to other users in real-time. It incorporates many social and game-like elements too (RAIN coverage here).

The New York Times has more coverage here.

Turntable.fm to host "Mashtival" online music fest tonight

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 11:05am

Group music listening site Turntable.fm tonight holds the Mashtival music fest: more than 20 "mashup" artists in three different Turntable "rooms" will perform. Mashtival

Users gather in online music site Turntable.fm's "rooms" where they take turns DJ-ing. Listeners can rate how well each DJ is performing, adding social and gaming elements to the service. Several Turntable.fm rooms are now dedicated to the art of "mash-ups," musical works created by combining two or more pre-recorded songs by (for example) "overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another ." Google "Girl Talk" or Danger Mouse's "Grey Album."

Wired reports the event, beginning at 7pm Eastern, will take place in three rooms. Each room’s five DJ spots will have a couple VIP DJs as well as up-and-coming mashup artists.

There's more info on Mashtival's Facebook page here. Read more in Wired here.

ReadWriteWeb: 2011 web music trends include recommendations services, cloud music and group listening

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 11:00am

Turntable.fmCloud music, recommendation engines and group listening. Those are just a few of the big online music trends of 2011, according to a new ReadWriteWeb article.

The year was good for algorithm-powered Internet radio services, with Pandora going public in February and the Echo Nest fueling new music services like iHeartRadio.

"As powerful as these machine-driven recommendation engines can be, there's still something to be said for human curation," writes ReadWriteWeb, pointing out that human-curated music services like Turntable.fm (pictured) and Shufflr.fm gained in popularity during the year.

Turntable.fm drove another 2011 web music trend, one that harkens back to AM/FM: group listening, where many users hear the same music at once. Meanwhile, Facebook forcefully introduced social features to streaming services while giant tech companies pushed music into the cloud.

You can find ReadWriteWeb's full analysis of the biggest Internet music trends of 2011 here.

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