Turntable.fm, the new hottness

Turntable dj area

Answer yes or no to following statements:
I listen to music at work.
I use Pandora so I can discover new music.
I use Grooveshark so I can listen to music I already love.
I have friends.
I have friends who have jobs that allow them to listen to music at work.

If you answered yes to three or more questions, turntable.fm is for you.

This website has a very simple concept, yet it is truly a game changer.

Turntable assumes three things:
1. Humans are creatures who crave connection and socialization with others.
2. People enjoy listening to music they already love.
3. Yet, people want to discover new music.

By combining those three assumptions turntable has created a social experience around music.

Each individual user curates their own DJ Queue from the turntable database or from uploading music you own.  This satisfies assumption #2, you are ensuring that you will hear music that you already enjoy.

Users enter either public or private rooms based around music genres, themes, affinity groups, anything! Up to 5 users can DJ in a room, but you will only see the songs in your list.  This plays off assumption #3 as 4 out of 5 songs will not be your choice and you will not know what is going to be played ahead of time.

There is a chat function that DJs and room listeners can use too.  A lot of the conversation occurs around the music, especially in large public rooms.  However, I like to use turntable to connect with colleagues and friends.  The chat feature allows us to have real time conversation about what is going on in our day.

Turntable has also incorporated a gaming feature into the platform. You get to vote whether you think the song playing is “awesome” or “lame.”  The more “awesome” your song, the more points you receive too unlock new avatars.

turntable voting area

This gaming element was a brilliant move on turntable’s part.  It keeps users interacting with the site.  And personally I am gunning for the blingin’ gorilla.

Turntable has completely revolutionized the work day.

“Turntable is a fun alternative to Pandora for music during the workday. I’ve definitely heard (and liked) music I wouldn’t have stumbled on otherwise.  It’s also become a forum for collaborating with colleagues.  The music room is a place where I can ask a quick question when I am working on a project.  Plus, I’ve learned Mallory’s theme song, that Nick spells ‘hottness’ with two T’s, and that Aaron Rester has a band.” – Alaina Wiens

Turntable allows you to make connections.

“The type of music someone listens to really gets to the depth of who they are. It says as much about then as the shoes they wear. Turntable allows you to share with your friends who you are, on a personal level, yourself beyond face value. What music you play says to the room how well you pay attention to the mood and interests of everyone in the room. Seeing how people react to your and other people’s music builds a deeper connection between friends, better than what a random DJ could ever do.” – Nick DeNardis


As hott at turntable is now, the site is still in beta and there are a few features or changes to the interface that would make the experience better:

  • Turntable needs an app. The site loads on my iPhone but the music doesn’t come through the speakers.  Plus it’s very clunky to navigate on such a tiny screen.
  • Turntable could take a few cues from Grooveshark for song search and playlists.  It isn’t always easy to search for songs within turntable because only 25 results appear and you can’t designate your search by song title or artist.  You currently can not build playlists, so if you have uploaded or added hundreds of songs to your DJ Queue it can be tricky to find what you are looking for.
  • Turntable needs to be open to the general public.  Currently users can “get in” if they have a Facebook friend who is already using the site.  While this probably creates an air of mystery and exclusivity (google wannabes), turntable has huge potential that will not be realized until more people start to use it.
  • Everyone wants to be a DJ, but a room can only have 5 DJ’s at a time.  Michael Fienen would like to see changes that would allow for better DJ rotation in busy rooms.  His suggestions include a seat queue, DJ voting, or limitations based on song number or total play time.
  • Fienen also points out that currently the avatars are pretty useless.  You can’t customize them and “at the moment, they really are quite useless aside from indicating who has liked a song.”  Since we connect with turntable through Facebook, one might expect that we should be able to use our Facebook profile photos in place of the avatar.

Have you used turntable? How has it changed your music experience? Are there any other features you wish they would add?


About Mallory Wood

Mallory Wood is a Vermont-based higher ed marketing professional with a passion for social media, web video, and event production. View all posts by Mallory Wood

6 responses to “Turntable.fm, the new hottness

  • Michael Fienen

    For those interested, here was the full list of suggestions of features, changes, and improvements that I think turntable.fm needs that I sent to Mallory:

    – Claustrophobic interface. It feels like it’s meant to be embedded in
    something, rather than used as is. They need to scale the interface
    and make use of the ample screen real estate they’re ignoring.
    – DJ limiting by the room owner when all seats are filled, either by
    song number or total play time. This would improve DJ rotation at busy
    times, unless not desired
    – DJ seat queue
    – DJ voting
    – Song favoriting
    – Playlists
    – Room recommendations based on DJ’d songs or likes
    – Do ANYTHING with avatars. At the moment, they really are quite
    useless aside from indicating who has liked a song.
    – Do ANYTHING with rooms. There’s absolutely nothing to interact with
    or do when listening to music besides chat.
    – Song suggestions
    – Search improvements. More than once I’ve been stuck trying to search
    with no response, to the point that my queue ran out of playable
    songs. This has been a major reason why I stopped using it, search was
    so slow and unresponsive. And since you can’t build playlists or
    anything, if search doesn’t work, it can really bring you to a
    – Queue bugfixes. Depending on how and when songs are added to a
    queue, songs will play out of order, and new songs are added to the
    top of your queue instead of the bottom.
    – Show album info
    – Bigger chat window
    – Facebook avatars in chat
    – Passive listening (just tap into the stream, no need to have the
    room itself open, just a player)
    – Limit song play length (either disallow songs over X length, or stop
    after X time and go to the next song)
    – Room MOTD
    – Room bulletin boards

  • Stephen Biernacki

    I’ve used Turntable a few times but can’t say it’s changed my music experience (yet), and I think that’s because I don’t have any real-life friends using the service. I’ve joined and participated in rooms that people I follow on Twitter have posted, and it’s cool, but I see Turntable being better with actual friends. Then again, in Nick’s quote he alludes to teh ability to learn more about people through music. That’s totally true, and motivation to jump in to rooms with online acquaintances, I suppose. Can’t speak to features, but all and all, I see it as more for fun, not so much for music discovery.

    Good post and overview!

  • Turntable.fm, the new hottness « Marketing with Mallory | | Turntables DirectTurntables Direct

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  • Mark Gould

    I’ve been digging turntable.fm lately.

    Random thought: Imagine if a townhouse party were to be DJed this way, through DJs using a smartphone app. I know, I am a super nerd.)

    I think Turntable is still in beta, so there are definitely bugs as you’ve mentioned, but the idea is fascinating.

    Pandora vs. Turntable.fm reminds me of Google vs. Facebook. On one hand, you have an incredibly smart algorithm that is constantly learning more about you. On the other, you have a more curated approach that derives its value and relevance from recommendations from friends.

    I think there is definitely room for Pandora and Turntable.fm to coexist.

  • dark_kaizer

    There are a few sites like Turntable now. http://www.Lissn.com is like Turntable.fm but for conversations. Anyone tried it?

  • caLoy

    There are a few sites like Turntable now. http://www.Lissn.com is like Turntable.fm but for conversations. Anyone tried it?

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