Turning the tables: Turntable.fm redefines internet radio

The new online music website Turntable.fm lets anyone take a spin at the role of DJ in an innovative, interactive format.

Unlike similar sites, such as Pandora and last.fm where users simply input an artist they like and the computer does the rest, Turntable.fm actually gives users the opportunity to hand select what tracks they want to listen to and lets them work with others to create an interactive music-listening experience.

“There’s no computers or beats per minute or algorithms involved,” said senior Louie Bottone, who has been using the site since summer. “Instead, you get personalized music from real people just like yourself.”

To use the site, a user simply has to enter a room – choices include “Indie While You Work” and “Ambient Chillout & Trip Hop”– and listen to songs other users have selected. Or, if a user is feeling up to the challenge, he or she can also enter a room “looking for a DJ” and take a crack at selecting tracks for everyone in the room to hear.

According to Bottone, Turntable.fm is “totally different” from other music streaming websites and more of “a discussion group for music fans.”

“Turntable.fm is a really unique site; it blends music discovery, social media, and Internet radio all into one user-friendly atmosphere that really hasn’t been done before,” Bottone said. “It’s super personalized, too. By relying on individual users to play songs, each room develops a sort of ‘feel’ or ‘mood’ that other users can contribute to.”

Can’t find a room that suits your tastes? No worries.

In addition to the existing rooms, the site allows for interaction between users and the friends they already have. Since it can be linked to Twitter and Facebook, users are given the chance to interact with existing online friends in a whole new way. Users can create their own rooms and take turns virtually DJing with their friends. As they do so, there is also the opportunity to earn points and unlock avatars – another one of the site’s fun features.

Senior Sean Slavin said that the ability to play music with friends is one of the main appeals of Turntable.fm.

“The best thing about it is that when you’re a DJ, you can choose songs for everyone in the room to listen to,” Slavin said. “It makes you feel important, sort of. It’s also really refreshing that it’s real people choosing the songs.”

According to the website’s mission statement, “Listening to music has always been one of those experiences that’s better together, whether at a concert or hanging out with friends.”

The site says, “The digital music revolution so far has been defined by a solitary experience,” but Turntable.fm is aiming to change that “by letting people experience and discover music together — live — online.”

Turntable.fm is a small New York City-based startup that launched in mid – 2011.

Alyana Alfaro can be reached at alyana.alfaro@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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