How Turntable.fm Could Be Even More Awesome... And Make Everyone Money

from the a-man-can-dream dept

Recently, I commented on a post about the geo-blocking of turntable.fm, explaining my dream of an alternate universe in which such exciting platforms are embraced, not fought. The trolls can go ahead and lob their various accusations and names at me (I particularly like "lickspittle") because Mike felt the idea needed more exposure, and invited me to turn it into a post. So, with some minor revisions, here is my turntable.fm fantasy:

The site grows. New features appear. Artists and labels embrace it. People like Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor show up on occasion in rooms where they take questions and engage the audience. Fans value this kind of intimate attention greatly, and the rooms quickly fill up with thousands of people, creating a lot of noise. Seeing a chance to monetize, turntable.fm builds a digital ticketing platform for shows with set capacities, so artists can host small intimate gatherings or huge free concerts. Record labels hold exclusive album launch parties on the site, with a full roster of their artists spinning tunes - with only a few hundred tickets available, they sell out fast and can pull impressive prices. Inside these rooms, the labels and artists unveil the first official downloads of the album, plus merchandise and early-sale concert tickets for the launch tour, through the integrated system that supports both list items and auctions.

In public rooms, a prominent but simple marquee scroller on the DJ table - styled to match the unique graphical feel of the site - also advertises merchandise, tickets and digital downloads. It does this automatically through affiliate programs, pulling results from Ticketmaster, Amazon and Bandcamp as artists come up on the queue, and also through a YouTube-like program that allows copyright owners to directly monetize their content and make more unique offerings. Users can opt to receive monthly newsletters with various offers based on the songs they played/liked that month as well.

Because the affiliate program cuts the performing DJ in for a small piece of sales once they reach a certain volume, some ambitious folk even try to make a career out of DJing on the site - and a handful succeed. They boast well over a million followers each, and are constantly courted by promoters to give exposure to new artists (a few sell out, and are rapidly abandoned). Others have used their popularity to promote their original work, converting their DJ-following into fans of their music, and RtB-ing them with Amanda Palmer-esque auctions on the virtual dancefloor.

The site sets the standard for social music, much fun is had, and money is made by all. Oh, and I can fucking use it from Canada.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jesse (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    "Oh, and I can fucking use it from Canada."

    Amen to that.

     

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  2.  
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    josh, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    I want in!

    I want to try turntable.fm, but my facebook friends are all losers without access.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Oh wow, another "fantasy". Too bad reality gets in the way of your misguided ideas.

     

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  4.  
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    Steve, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    "Fantasy" VS "Reality"

    I think it sounds great. "Too bad reality gets in the way of your misguided ideas." In reality the record companies and composers, and artists (to save a few) don't want that level of interaction. The only interaction they want is the one that starts with them saying give me money, and ends with you giving them money.

     

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  5.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    TROLOLOLOLOLO

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    Fantasy is often an idea being born. I remember a guy named Edison who fantisized about recording sound, and then invented this little thing called a phonograph ...

     

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  7.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    I can agree with almost all that, and it would surely be awesome, especially if the offers would be available internationally.

    But in a world where you have digital content available in online stores, that you can't buy if you aren't in the correct country, or if you happen to want to pay with the wrong payment service, I don't see Turntable having a chance.

    For 3 days much fun was had by me. Yes, I really did like the service, seeing a lot of room to grow and increase.

    Now, as said, I can access it through proxy's or whatever, but, I can't no longer invite friends to it, I can't feel comfortable tweeting about the experience I'm having, I feel rather conspicuous using it through a proxy and having it connected to my Facebook account. Sure I can go and listen to music, but, that is only 1/10th of the experience.

    The rooms are monitored, maybe not all, but some, and you'll never know which, so you can't just talk freely in the chat, sharing data about you that may be deemed in violation of the TOS. Even the uploading of music, becomes questionable if you are a trespasser. If can't just share the musics you are playing, openly and freely on your Facebook, to entice your friends to join, begin a conversation, or simply brag, because you are trespassing, what's the point really?

    Ok, on a perfect world, your dream would be awesome, but until the underlying conditions that are contributing to the closing of turntable are addressed, their service will always be limited to some elites, that happen to live in some specific piece of ground.

    Anyway, turntable had everything to be GREAT. Now, they can still be a good service to some.

    I will remember how great those 3 days were. You guys have fun with it now...

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re:

    No no no. Edison was a talented manager and was very talented at enforcing his intellectual property, he hired a team of people to invent the phonograph.

    Edison was a schmuck, not a person to be looked up to.

     

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  9.  
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    Colin, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Liked your original comment, and enjoyed this post as well. I'd love to see some of these ideas in action.

     

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  10.  
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    Hugh S. Myers (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:18pm

    turntable in real time.

    Don't know if anyone here listens to Chicago's WFMT---more importantly to the portion that airs on Saturday night. 5 hours or so of folk music selected by folks who know the industry inside and out. Well enough that the industry knows them and sends along new material as it occurs. One of the new programs called (I think) 'Sweet Folk Chicago' is an hour long section where the DJ's are other folk singers! Apply this to turntable and you've got an insanely great offering. But your are probably right, it would take both the Justice League of America and an alternate Universe for this to happen---too bad :(

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You so missed the point of my response ... Fail = Fail = True

     

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  12.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: turntable in real time.

    "it would take both the Justice League of America and an alternate Universe for this to happen---"

    How about a couple greek gods instead?

     

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  13.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Just remember who's locking everyone out: the same "pro-music," "pro-musician," "always looking out for the indie artists" recording industry, whether it's the labels themselves, the RIAA or the dozens of "performance rights groups."

    They all love this business of music so much they're willing to take it right out of peoples' hands (and ears) over some petty territorial pissing.

    And I get the feeling that sooner or later (and anytime would be too soon), turntable.fm will go dark here in the US. One of the coolest things to ever happen to music will be ritually sacrificed on the cross of "commerce."

     

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  14.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    I've seen your "dream" of unavoidable advertising in "Bladerunner".

    It's called dystopia. You should visit Tokyo to see the horror in practice: flashing ads everywhere you look, and just the automated orders of when to cross the street are enough to creep out most Westerners. I'm amazed that anyone could even for a moment consider a tarted-up internet chat room as a "social interaction", but internetters keep plumbing new depths. The dark underbelly of this beast is not only advertising as you threaten, but the creepy eavesdropping. This fad will pass soon as the new wears oft -- about 3 days from one account above.

     

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  15.  
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    Huph, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:59pm

    People like Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor show up on occasion in rooms where they take questions and engage the audience.


    Thom Yorke? Really? Do you know anything about how reclusive that guy is and how opaque Radiohead is as a band? They are as far from connecting with fans as one could imagine. And Trent Reznor already interacts with fans in this way with much success at his own site. Why would he opt to bring a middleman into the equation?

    so artists can host small intimate gatherings or huge free concerts


    There are some technical issues that go along with trying to put on a live interactive concert online that I don't believe have been sorted out. Lag time is an issue. Also, for a band to do this properly they basically need to perform in a studio, so the sound will be palatable. Unless you're just going to stream a live show, but that's a different endeavor. Either way, ponying up cash for a good live recording is no trivial thing.

    Record labels hold exclusive album launch parties on the site, with a full roster of their artists spinning tunes - with only a few hundred tickets available, they sell out fast and can pull impressive prices


    Now musicians should be DJs? Have you ever been subjected to the whims of musician DJing? It's not often a pleasant experience. The skill of being a good DJ is different from being a good musician. Musicians like obscure stuff, DJs know how to entertain from behind the decks. People are more apt to prefer music they like over some random folk recordings the dude from Sparklehorse is currently freaking out about. Also, stage presence is the opposite of what makes a good DJ.

    Inside these rooms, the labels and artists unveil the first official downloads of the album, plus merchandise and early-sale concert tickets for the launch tour, through the integrated system that supports both list items and auctions.


    This is much harder to pull off than it sounds. Labels often have little to do with merch. They definitely don't screw around with ticket sales, if you've got a good contract. There's a lot of legal issues that would have to be sorted out just for simple stuff like allowing turntable.fm to display the band's logo. Plus, your booking agent will need their full cut from these discounted tickets, where will that extra scratch come from? 360 deals are changing the nature of this relationship, but I don't think the ideal position for any artist is to have the label's hands in all the honey pots.

    In public rooms...


    That paragraph has some solid ideas. I'm still not clear on where turntable.fm gets any money, though, which is going to be a very important part of sustaining the site.

    Because the affiliate program cuts the performing DJ in for a small piece of sales once they reach a certain volume, some ambitious folk even try to make a career out of DJing on the site - and a handful succeed.


    I still don't see how this won't just end up as a newer, more insidious form of payola.

    Others have used their popularity to promote their original work, converting their DJ-following into fans of their music


    Ah... the old bait and switch tactic. Much, much easier said than done. Like I said, good DJs don't necessarily make good musicians. And vice versa.

    and RtB-ing them with Amanda Palmer-esque auctions on the virtual dancefloor.


    Good lord, still with the Palmer references? You guys need to find some new heroes fast. Anyway, I'm not sure what exactly a DJ will be auctioning. Record collections? Why not just do that on ebay? You know, how a lot of currently successful DJs do it now? Also, I don't imagine people are going to enjoy listening to a musician DJ other people's music while shouting at them to buy the bar of soap they used in the shower this morning.
    ________

    Anyway x2, I like the supposition going on here. It's at least a logical look at the future, but as less articulate ACs might say, this is sheer fantasy. It's not all bad, though, but there a lot of holes. Behind a successful band are a lot of entities who must be kept happy, and I don't see how turntable.fm will justify the resources needed for something like this. Artists have a label, a publisher, a booking agent, a manager, other members of their band, designers for logos/art/etc... all these people need to get paid. Endeavors that don't take all of this into account will not gain much traction with any artist who has reached a level of success where music is their full time job.

     

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  16.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Re: I've seen your "dream" of unavoidable advertising in "Bladerunner".

    Did you ever use the site, or are you just talking out your ass? It's a lot more than a "tarted up chat room", and literally everyone I know who has used it has loved it (for more than three days) - so I'm guessing it's the latter.

     

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  17.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Re:

    "This sounds hard! Let's not try anything new ever!"

     

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  18.  
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    antimatter3009 (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    Re: "Fantasy" VS "Reality"

    I think this is the sad truth. The record label thought process will go roughly:

    1) this does not immediately make money and allows people to listen to music for free
    2) we could shut this down and then people will be forced to buy this music if they want to hear it
    3) when people buy music, we win moneys

    However, this still seems like it could be amazing for independent artists, and if it really works well there the labels might actually give it a shot. Maybe.

     

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  19.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    "How Turntable.fm Could Be Even More Awesome... And Make Everyone Money"

    The problem is that the music labels (and the copyright industry as a whole) does not want "everyone" to make money. They want to make all the money themselves. Even if it means they'll go bankrupt in the process. It's a pure zero-sum game to them.

     

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  20.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Re: I've seen your "dream" of unavoidable advertising in "Bladerunner".

    "You should visit Tokyo to see the horror in practice: flashing ads everywhere you look, and just the automated orders of when to cross the street are enough to creep out most Westerners."

    The same display is in New York at night. It didn't creep me out when I went (and lived) in Japan. Oh, and Las Vegas is trying to build itself up as the second New York. Going back to Japan, Roppongi is the Japanese Las Vegas. Same displays that don't seem to be all that scary.

    " I'm amazed that anyone could even for a moment consider a tarted-up internet chat room as a "social interaction", but internetters keep plumbing new depths."

    You didn't read the features of the turntable.fm did you? Seems pretty cool once you're allowed in to talk and socialize. You know, those little things you do everyday as you learn new subjects and expand your mind?

    out of the blue, you sir, are talking out of your ass about things you know absolutely NOTHING about.

     

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  21.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:36pm

    HTML 5/web-sockets Rerouter

    How about this. Take your idea - and screw the record industry. Keep turntable.fm operational, and use the Point-to-Point functionality of the (soon to be "standard") HTML 5 standard (or at least the web-sockets standard).

    Google is already planning serverless applications (think Skype implemented in Javascript) - at least that's my understanding. What this means is that if there is a route - there's a way.

    Example - Joe has access to Turntable.fm. You have peer-to-peer access to Joe. Now you have a live unblockable proxy to Turntable.fm.

    Let the revolution commence!

    -CF

     

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  22.  
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    Bob Vila, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    embracing

    Just stop using the word embrace. The assholes you are talking to are never going to embrace that word.

     

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  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: "Fantasy" VS "Reality"

    The labels will never give it a shot. It is outside their comfort zone of total control.

     

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  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: I've seen your "dream" of unavoidable advertising in "Bladerunner".

    His main problem is one of fear. Fear of people talking, and chatting outside the little world of controlled presentation and advertising. Think about every non-label music site you go to, every other comment is fuck RIAA, the MPAA, and their mothers. They have no control over what people think of them and their actions. So they ignore it for the most part and don't try to fix what is actually wrong with their businesses. They continue to think, if we only slap these nasty pirates down a little harder, things can go back to how they were.

    It's called denial.

     

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  25.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 6:45pm

    Re: You so missed the point of my response

    If a response is claiming to be factual, it helps if it is actually factual.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 7:21pm

    Fuck Canada.

     

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  27.  
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    a sad dude (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 7:26pm

    Re: HTML 5/web-sockets Rerouter

    Sadly, there are some security problems with this otherwise great idea (which is why WebSocket support was "temporarily" pulled out of major browsers after being successfully put in.

    One might wonder, how could it happen that such gaping holes weren't noticed by anyone, but then again, with all this intellectual property shit one can easily forget there sometimes are real problems to solve.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re:

    "this sounds stupid. Let's not try anything Marcus suggests".

     

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  29.  
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    sam, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:55pm

    there is a much easier accessed

    turntablefm utopia than the one you have outlined here. interesting you have sold out to the ideas of big stars and tickets in the first paragraph. but fantasy is fantasy i guess

     

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  30.  
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    Evostick, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 3:13am

    Why limit the digital tickets?

     

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  31.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Re:

    You wouldn't have to - they could be unlimited if you want. But intimacy is a valuable commodity, not an artificial scarcity - plenty of people would see great value in a ticket that allows them to spend some time in a chatroom with their favourite artist and only 100 other people, as opposed to 1000 or 10,000 - by limiting the tickets you can actually add value for the fans.

     

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  32.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: there is a much easier accessed

    Maybe you require a hatred of all things popular for your self-identity or something, but I don't see embracing big stars as "selling out". Popular acts are where the money comes from. They are big business. What's wrong with that? Nobody is forcing you to listen to them. I work in marketing. I think practically, not with a bunch of romantic anti-pop notions in my head. You do realize that turntable.fm is a business, and has every intention of monetizing in the future, right?

    Please, describe your "much easier accessed turntable utopia"... because I have no idea what you are talking about.

     

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  33.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    You know, I've been thinking about this more and more Huph, and I realize that it's a real shame you are so closed-minded. You obviously know a lot about the industry and its existing deals, and the details of how all kinds of things function - but you have this weird belief that nothing will ever change ever. Your comment here basically says "since I can't envision this popping spontaneously into existence in today's industry exactly as it is, it's a dumb idea"

    I recognize that many things are going to have to change to make ideas like this possible. Most of them seem to already be changing. I also recognize that ideas like this will involve experimentation, and they won't all work. You could actually be a really valuable person to anyone trying to do new and innovative things in the music industry, because you could help them navigate the practical challenges - but you would need to start thinking creatively, and start embracing the idea of change instead of acting as though nothing ever will.

    The world's changing, Huph. Take your knowledge and actually apply it - think outside the box a bit - and you might find you can have a major impact instead of being a stick-in-the-mud.

     

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  34.  
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    Alisha Wilson, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Turntable.fm

    We use this at work and it is awesome. I'm working my way up to getting a better avatar. I think there could be vast future for this site. Good ideas Dennis.

     

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  35.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Turntable.fm

    Thanks! Not Dennis, though...

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: You so missed the point of my response

    Anal, aren't we?

     

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  37.  
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    Jalcide (profile), Jul 17th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Some Observations

    I've been "researching" on this site for a few days now. A few observations.

    First, it turns out spinning music that you love and that others love too, is the ultimate lubricant the SM industry has been struggling to find.

    You'll know more about someone's "soul" after two tracks and few smack-talking chat quips than a 1000 gussied up family-safe Facebook photo shoots, or stilted Twitter posts.

    Secondly, Re, "distopia / tarted-up chat rooms," etc. Perhaps, but it's being gobbled up by the avatar-pimping hordes with more ferocity than seen since WoW -- thanks to the brilliant point-based system and avatar unlocking. I'm not into video-game-based competition, but wanted to be a "pimped out gorilla" on this damn thing after only five minutes.

    Fear not, the money flow will find its path of least resistance with this model. I witnessed, in real-time, several organic marketing scenarios unfold before my eyes that the entire Google and Facebook SVN repository, with all their might, would not have been able to code their way into.

    This thing is simple, elegant, ugly as hell, and utterly genius.

    I had an impromptu conversation, on tt.fm, about how this real-time model "changes everything" with a music producing, stadium-filling legend -- he agreed whole heartedly. No pomp-and-circumstance, no contacting his booking agent, no "liking," no "following," no bullshit. I went to his listening room, heard a brand new unreleased track, made some kind of "this is dope" comment and we struck up a conversation in front of the whole room. Also, I spun some tracks myself, not just for the packed, "exclusive" room, but for his record label buddies sitting next to him over speakers he had plugged into his brick-and-mortar record store (btw, I hope everyone listening in the store dug my Mala track. Maybe they even strolled over to the "M" section? Yes, you can see the track names playing.)

    Anyway, I guess I have "27 fans" now because of it.

    Perfect, cuz I'll be buying and spinning this artist's tracks, for them, next time I'm on.

     

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  38.  
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    1999jtb1, Dec 18th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Making turntable.fm better

    For the Metal rooms the TT tech team needs to make a headbang feature!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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