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Turntable.fm: a new kind of DJ

As I write this post, I am part of a DJ team on Turntable.fm for the freaky friday throwdown  room. The room system is in beta at this point, I’m told, but there are five DJs and the music has been pretty wonderful so far. Here are the last five songs:

Around The World – Daft Punk

11 Am – Incubus

Mirror in The Bathroom – The English Beat

Cry for You (Radio Mix) – September

Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz

The way turntable.fm works is that you join a room as either a listener or a DJ. As a listener, you just listen. If you can get in as a DJ, you pick songs. Then you can search for tunes and queue them up with the rest of the group.

You can interact with the other DJs via a chat board. You can become fans of them. You can rank a tune as “lame” or “awesome.” I am trying to fit in with the general tone and quality of the music broadcasting from this room. It’s  difficult to do because this group has excellent taste.

There’s a distinct ships-in-the-night quality to the whole turntable.fm experience.

“do any of you guys know each other in real life?” I ask.

“i have one friend on this service,” one of my fellow DJs expains.

“that would be pretty hard here but there are some rooms all put together by students in one school,” another says.

“some of my friends come on but usually never”

“I hate starting a room by myself”

“starting rooms is very hard”

“i’ve tried and it’s pretty difficult”

Right now everybody is excited, because one of the DJs just won a teddy bear. She won it  because 100 people clicked “awesome” on her selections. She got her last awesome by playing “Red Red Wine” by UB40.

“now you can even toast with the wine for your teddy,” a DJ proclaims. “for sure!” she responds. “what kind of Red Wine is it?” “pinot noir.” “good stuff.”

We all listen for a while without chatting.

“well guys… I’m out!” she finally chats. “time to really party the night away.”

I have just queued up “Avalon,” by Roxy Music.

“wow another serious classic,” the room’s main DJ notes.

“i’ve never heard this song before, I’ll withhold judgement :),” another says.

Who created this room? The information for freakyfridaythrowdown says it was inaugurated by MP3J-Alberto. But nobody I’m chatting with has ever heard of this person. Then half the DJs leave, leaving me as the moderator.

From the reaction to my selections, I’m pretty sure that I’ve been the oldest person in the room for quite a while.  Somebody just queued up “Dinosaur,” by Was (Not Was). I think the song is being played in my honor. I respond with Ke$ha’s recent hit with the same name.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide whether this satisfies my longing for radio deejays in the 20th century sense of the concept. It does, sort of. Turntable.fm is at least more interactive than Pandora.

Suddenly I notice that MP3J-Alberto is in the audience, but I don’t know how to communicate with him.

“this is still beta, there isnt a way to msg directly, at least not yet,” my last remaining DJ explains.

Frustrating. Still, turntable.fm is fun, and has a lot of potential.


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3 Responses to Turntable.fm: a new kind of DJ

  1. charles reinsch July 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Prior to cutting back due to ill health, Charlie Gillett on the BBC, used to play “radio ping pong” with guests, in which they would alternate cuts and come up with some surprising synthesis. It is probably old fashioned of me, but the magic of broadcast radio, throwing out your voice and programs, the signal bouncing off the ionosphere, or “skipping”, and landing in someone’s three transistor radio, or crystal set, or warmly glowing five tube wonder is hard to match by internet streaming. Oh well, today I listen to Pacific via copper and fiber. Is it still “radio”?

  2. Matthew Lasar July 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    I’m with you on this, Charles, at least mostly. But I like to try my hand at the new things from time to time.

  3. L July 12, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    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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