Jul 6, 2011
Lets talk about Turntable.fm, because that’s what everyone is talking about these days. It’s like:
“Hey man, wanna go shoot some hoops?”
“I can’t dude, I got a DJ set on turntable.fm’s ‘Ska-Pop-Ballads for Account Executives Room’ coming up in 10 min!”
Turntable.fm is a site (do people say ’site’ anymore? Should I say it’s an ‘app’ ’social network’ ‘architectural web integrated paradigm’?) that lets you act as DJ in a virtual club with others, each taking a turn playing some music from a vast library of tunes. The music is streamed, you have some sort of option to buy, although I’m not sure anyone purchases tunes through Turntable. There are several elements to discuss, so lets discuss them.
Music has always been a social experience. There were in fact times, when listening to music was not at all a portable experience. Think of the dark days when we had to carry a discman about town. The weight! The related back problems! But anyhoo, it’s how we relate to each other. Generations were moved to political and social action by song (I’m thinking mostly about ‘The Right Stuff’ by New Kids On The Block) and this communal experience seemed to be on its way out.
Think about it for a bit, when is the last time you listened to something with a group of people that you do or do not know, at the same time, and discussed it. We watch a clip on facebook, stream the sample clips on itunes, download the entire catalog of Burt Bacharach, all in our own little bubble. The concert industry still exists, but how many live performances per year do you think the average American attends? So that element, I love. Its a positive thing for musicians, because as we all know, radio is so dead right now.
I feel like I’m getting off track here a bit. I seem to be stating loosely researched facts here, and while iblogwhatihear is your main source for factual information, lets take a sharp left and go straight into my opinion.
I’m intrigued, but slightly turned off by Turntable. I wonder about the licensing related issues – like a few years back when there was all the talk of charging crazy rates for streaming based radio stations, and if this site can stream everything for free, why don’t we have a subscription based situation from itunes or some reputable carrier…..my brain just exploded. But that’s not my real concern. My real concern is the filter.
Here’s a shock. I’m incredibly particular about the music I listen to. If a trusted source tells me something is awesome, I give it a listen. There is not much musical trust going into a situation like this, so our attention spans are going to be fairly short. When a classic Hall and Oates jam comes on in the “Retro music that is now cool again” room, I’m gonna rock the fuck out. But when the next song up is “Don’t Stop Believin”, while it’s an amazing song as stated in the previous post, I’m gonna hit the mute button, and go do some other internetting.
Basically what I’m saying is….it’s kind of like the radio. We want filters. We want taste makers. Otherwise, go on ‘The Myspace” now owned by Justin Timberlake, and see how many super awesome bands you come across.
I’m torn. I want to delve headfirst in, and play some crazy songs and enjoy the experience…I just really don’t want to sit through shitty music in order to do it. Chances are one of those people up in the little DJ booth has a musical taste that does not mesh with yours. When I go into the “Dance Music For People Who Gyrate After Consuming Bud Lite Lime” I want to put on some James Brown, and maybe hear some awesome soul music in return. The moment Girl Talk comes on, I’m out. See what I’m saying here? It’s hard to sit through the crappy songs when in your own home (or more likely killing time at work)
In conclusion, PROVE ME WRONG INTERNET!!!! Invite me to an awesome room where everyone is playing amazing music at least 91% of the time, and I am all in. But I’m telling you, the second I hear some Girl Talk…..