Monday, July 18, 2011

Is it AWESOME?

I finally got the chance to create a room on turntable.fm, and having my friends play all their favorite tunes over the last few days has done more for my discovery of new bands than anything previously. If you haven't heard of turntable.fm, let me get you up to speed.

Turntable.fm is a project of Seth Goldstein and Billy Chasen, the two guys who brought us Stickybits (stickybits is a free app that allows you to unlock every single barcode with a quick scan to find info, deals and cool stuff). The website was started in January 2011 and opened to the public in May 2011. By late June it had already reached 140,000 active users and it receives about 143,314 unique visitors per day. As of today, the site has over 300,000 users. For the code monkeys out there, the site front-end is mostly Javascript. The audio is Flash, so the site is useless on an iOS device. The back-end is written in Python and uses MongoDB and is all hosted on Amazon's EC2 and S3 servers.

Turntable.fm is simply a series of user-generated chatrooms where members take turns picking music to be played. The other peeps in the rooom vote on the song, "lame" or "awesome." If you score an "awesome" while you are on the decks, you get a point. The more points you have, the more virtual street cred you have. Even better, you unlock avatar changes as you reach point milestones. The rating of songs in this way isn't new, but for some reason when I hear new songs in "the real world" I still find myself looking for the LAME and AWESOME buttons!

Right now, the service is a bit buggy, but don't complain...it's still in beta. You can connect via Facebook but only if one of your friends has signed up.

Once you get in a room, or start your own, you make a call out to your friends via email, Twitter, or Facebook. Most people will ignore you. That's fine, because the people you want to join you are those that cannot resist checking out a site thats called turntable.fm.

Once you all get in the room, you start sharing your favorite songs, or better yet, songs that follow another song well. I've discovered some completely new music and rediscovered great music in my own library as a result.

Emiliana Torrini, The Mooney Suzuki, Lovage, and Mayer Hawthorne are all bands/artists that were new to me, which I have quickly fallen in love with.

The latter is who I'd like to feature in this post. Mayer Hawthorne draws influences from many artists, namely the music of Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Barry White, and Smokey Robinson. The song "Don't Turn The Lights On" can be found on the free covers EP Impressions - The Covers. Hawthorne says this about the track:



My favorite track from Chromeo’s latest LP. On the surface it’s an electro-funk, dance floor filler, but underneath is a brilliant love ballad with lyrics that reminded me of something from Tyrone Davis. Dave1 (of Chromeo) told me the song is about a guy who falls in love with a ghost, so I wanted my version to have an eerie, ghostly feel to it. Quincy McCrary played the creepy piano solo at the end.

You can listen to Hawthorne's cover and the original below. I hope we will see you in our little "virtual club" on turntable.fm sometime very soon! We would love to hear what you LOVE, in ALL caps.

Click to enjoy Chromeo - Don't Turn The Lights On

Click to enjoy Mayer Hawthorne - Don't Turn The Lights On (Chromeo Cover)



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