You’d be forgiven for being confused. I’ve been following this story and am currently writing it and I’m still fairly confused. But Turntable (or tt.fm), not to be confused with Turntable.fm (the name of both the original and recently re-released social music app) today just announced that it has launched iOS, Android and desktop versions of its own service.
By way of brief explanation, the original Turntable.fm shut down in 2013 to focus on a live music platform. It was a sad day for those of us who wasted countless workday hours on the site. But stuff happens. People change, companies pivot.
Of course, that nostalgia returned something fierce when we were all stuck inside for the past year, searching for a social connection. Those of us of a certain age who maybe haven’t gone all in on Twitch started pining for the site. So founder Billy Chasen planned a return. In its current beta iteration, it’s a bit of a time capsule, albeit with a few key changes like relying on YouTube streaming to circumvent some royalty issues. It works well. I’ve been using it. It’s fun. Oh, and the company just raised $7.5 million to bring it into the new decade.
Seemingly around the same time, an early Turntable.fm employee decided to launch another take on the service. Focused on mobile usage and opting for the crowdfunding route, TT.fm rode that wave of nostalgia to $500,000 in funding, announced back in March.
Today that service is launching in beta. It’s in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as we speak. Or you can visit it in a browser. Like Turntable.fm, tt.fm (as we’re going to refer to it for simplicity’s sake) relies on third-party music services. At launch, music is pulled from a linked Spotify or Apple Music account, as well as Soundcloud. YouTube functionality is coming soon.
As you can see from the above shot, the offering is based on the same format as Turntable.fm, with similar but different graphics. DJs play songs on the stage and the audience bops their heads in approval if they like it. One of the ways the new offering is looking to distinguish itself is through hosted DJ sets from artists.
“Original Turntable fans are eager to get back on the dancefloor and have been asking for a product that serves their needs,” Perla said in a release, “including live DJ sets, social networking with music fans, music sharing and an online music community.”
As a fan of Turntable.fm, suddenly going from zero to two services feels like an embarrassment of riches. But the question remains whether it can move beyond a niche and really thrive in the crowded media environment of 2021. There’s probably room for one Turntable.fm.
But two? This already strange story is likely only getting stranger.