Turntable.fm is an upcoming social media phenomenon- equal parts chat and DJ popularity game, the site offers an avatar-filled club for music lovers to share their favorite songs in a unique way. It is unlike any other online community or song sharing website to date, and its novelty will certainly influence a new standard for social networking if it can surpass copyright scrutiny overseas and legal troubles in the U.S.
Currently, interested beta testers must have a Facebook friend already rocking out on Turntable.fm, but unlike the scarcity of Google+ invites, this is relatively easy to secure. The chances are in one’s favor that a Facebook friend will share the goods; try requesting an invite through a status update. If that doesn’t work, add your e-mail address to the invite queue list for a potential spot beyond Turntable’s virtual velvet ropes. If neither leads are viable, the ‘likes’ on Facebook (over 16,000) indicate this project may open to the larger public in the near future.
Once inside, a user selects their DJ avatar. The assortment is limited and ranked by earned points, foreshadowing a gaming component to this venture. Each person poses as a DJ in a room and up to five take turns playing songs off their playlists while the rest form an adoring crowd, occasionally nodding their heads to the beat.Turntable.fm hosts a song library to choose from, but users can always opt to upload audio files in case a must-have or favorite jam isn’t available. There is a user-created room for every musical taste (listed from most populated to least), and a frustrated DJ without a niche can create their own to fill in a decided gap.
DJs take turns sharing songs and listeners can vote their offerings as ‘lame’ or ‘awesome’ accordingly. ‘Awesomes’ and accrued fans lead to more popularity points, which can open up a slew of different, coveted avatars. It’s a tried and proven retention strategy, especially if additional customizations or room detail expansions become available in exchange for points (look at foursquare and the myriad of spam-filled Zynga games). There is exciting potential for growth in that area, but Turntable would do well to stay true to their mission of bringing music lovers together rather than overdevelop it for the sake of revenue.