Turntable.fm? Sorry, I Just Don’t Get It

This blog was going to be about social DJing site Turntable.fm having appeared, and how nobody should get too worked up. But now it’s got to be about how Turntable FM has disappeared (and how nobody should get too worked up).

Turntable.fm did (or still does, if you’re American) allow people to create a virtual room, bring in the avatars of a few friends or strangers, and take it in turns to play tunes for each other.

‘Performances’ are rated in a competition to become the best at pretending to be a DJ by pressing play on other people’s songs, for the simulated approval of cartoon people who aren’t really there and may or may not know who you are – a lot like a Peaches Geldof set.

Still in beta, it was accessible only if you had Facebook friends who were already on it. Which, obviously, everyone did, because this was a mere illusion of exclusivity which helped to build the hype.

But no sooner had the phrase ‘Turntable.fm’ begun festering in that sentient compost heap of our subconscious that marketeers regularly shovel shit into, than it was suddenly made inaccessible due to licensing issues. Blink (or go to Glastonbury) and you missed it.

Having had a brief explore while it was still up, it looked OK. But, as someone regularly mocked for having bad taste in everything, it’s the concept that I don’t really get the appeal of.

LastFM radio stations and playlists in Spotify I understand, because you make it, put it out there, and it’s picked up and played in the background by people who are already at least a little bit inclined to like it. And if they don’t, they’ll probably keep it to themselves. Humiliation, and distraction, minimal.

But dropping everything you’re doing to stand up (albeit virtually) in a room full of people to be labelled ‘awesome’ or ‘lame’ sounds like a time-consuming and masochistic exercise in dragging up repressed memories. I’m not the only blogger on this site who finds the idea traumatic. Without naming names: “You’re talking to someone who once ‘dropped’ Stars by Simply Red in a club”.

I feel his (or her) pain. A few nights ago, in the pub with a couple of friends, we were all struck with the fear immediately after choosing some songs on the jukebox. This was despite outnumbering the only other party there – a guy asleep facedown on a table. Unless this exact scenario can be recreated so that I can try and conquer that first, Turntable FM definitely isn’t for me.