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Time to DJ with the best of ’em…and mostly the worst of ’em

How many times have you been at a club listening to the DJ thinking to yourself, “I can do better.” Well there’s a new app on facebook that is allowing you to do just that. For everyone who’s ever dreamed of kicking it on the 1’s and 2’s you now can hop on, give yourself a fly DJ name and start playing.

Not really though, it’s not quite that simple. Turntable.fm is a new app inside of the facebook market that works a lot like a friend curated Pandora. You join a room with with five “DJ tables” at the top which you can jump on, build a queue and start streaming music. They get around paying streaming rights because it works in a way where you can’t just build up your own queue of music and listen to your own radio station. If you are the only person in the room, you will only hear samples of the music. Building a queue is easy enough, you can search their library or upload your own songs. This makes for a quite a diverse selection. You can randomly join rooms and just listen, this can work, but to be honest I’m kind of a dick when it comes to music and I get annoyed quickly. There is only so much dubstep or pitchfork indie rock I can take and still remain sane. The best method we’ve found is to start a room up with our friends and pick some themes and just play music. Sometimes its a free for all,  sometimes we go with something like baby making music or opposites (my personal fave). You will learn a lot about your friends musical tastes, mostly that you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did. I’ve known my nerd cohort Scott for going on 20 years (I know, weird), and he surprises me on a daily basis with what he listens to.

Overall, they have been working out some kinks. Frequent guest Ryan and I have a joke that it’s just three guys sitting in a room with servers on fire. Smoking a cigarette and freaking out. I don’t know how they have managed to handle the influx of traffic, because although it is in “private beta” all you have to do is have a friend on facebook who uses it and you can get on. With the speed that this took off that pretty much means everyone. Sometimes search will go down, or a song won’t load. Sometimes a refresh will fix it, sometimes not. The only thing that is a bit of a persistent annoyance is the management of your queue. After about a week you may have acquired a massive list. There isn’t much you can do about it, but there are some interesting chrome and firefox extensions slowly making their way out to help.

So what keeps the kiddies coming back for more? FAKE REWARDS! Yes, just like your favorite video games, the more you work in the system, the more points you can rack up for being “awesomed.” There is a rating for each song, lame and awesome. You get points for awesome and if more than half the room lame’s a song it is skipped. There are mods and room owners to keep things calm and over all the system seems to work pretty well.

The rules

Well, there really aren’t any, but here’s some tips to help you stay sane while you DJ it up.

  • Be kind, don’t rewind: Replaying music is annoying, if something has been played, keep it fresh and find something else that fits
  • Follow the room rules: Usually there will be rules in the “room info” tab or you can just ask, most people are pretty helpful
  • Try not to troll: Playing a weird al song or nyan cat could be funny to you, but to most people it will probably annoy them, unless it fits the room theme
  • Think like a DJ: That’s right, after all is said and done, pretending you’re the guy on the decks helps. Think of a good follow up song, play it and reap the rewards

So go forth and DJ. If you want to hang with the Nerd Appropriate guys we tend to flock to a self owned room called Cool Tunes Bro, I am DJ Matt Typed. So look me up.

  • A great side effect of sorts that I’ve noticed since I started using turntable is the large number of albums I’ve bought or downloaded (ZUNE PASS, FTW!) after being reminded of groups or artists I was once a rabid fan of and have since forgotten during our “throwback” sessions, or after being introduced to completely new (at least to me) acts that I’ve since grown to love. While playing music with other people, especially your friends, can result in headphones being removed, rooms being left, marriages dissolving, I think it’s overall a great new social app.

  • It’s really interesting that people / rooms are making up their own rules and etiquette beyond what is established from the site. Seems like the people will decide what features and controls will be implemented in the future.