Greetings, fellow avatars. I’m excited to start contributing at Turntable.fm Fans and sharing news and some thoughts on what has quickly become my favorite destination on the web.
For those of you who missed it, Turntable.fm founder Seth Goldstein was just interviewed at the Paley Center for Media in New York. The full interview can be found here, but here are a few quick thoughts on where Turntable.fm is headed, based on what I heard:
Focus on Intimacy: We heard the word “intimacy” a few times tonight, but it wasn’t a reference to the Marvin Gaye playing in the background. Instead, it was Seth’s way of describing what’s unique to Turntable.fm, which, as he put it, recreates the experience of sharing music with friends in your living room. Seth also repeatedly talked about the importance of the chat function in creating this intimacy. So you can expect that any changes to the look and feel of TT.fm will only enhance (or at least not detract from) the chat feature. And the emphasis on intimacy also means that the 200 person cap on rooms is unlikely to change. In fact, Seth said that the TT.fm team had been in discussions with major artists about appearing on TT.fm, and that raising the room limit for those appearances was “non-negotiable.”
Integration with Other Music Services: With the expected announcement of the Facebook music platform tomorrow during Facebook’s f8 conference, another major player is joining a suddenly crowded online music industry. But I don’t get the sense that the TT.fm team is worried. In fact, in this and other interviews, Seth has talked about how Turntable.fm is not substitutional but in fact complimentary to these other services. We all know that Spotify, iTunes and other services are already integrated into the site, and I think we can expect the future to bring some very interesting combinations of our favorite music services. [For an interesting discussion between Robert Scoble and Seth about the potential for iCloud to integrate with Turntable.fm or other sites like it, check out this recent episode of the Gillmor Gang (at the 1:01 mark).]
Get Ready for Virtual Goods: It seems pretty likely that we’ll see virtual goods sold on Turntable.fm within the next 6-12 months (think avatars, dancing abilities or even custom room decor). But I think the TT.fm team will be very careful with how they roll this out. Seth spoke of the need for monetization to enhance rather than detract from the user experience (and this is something that Fred Wilson, a VC investor who just joined the TT.fm board, regularly preaches). So don’t expect to be able to buy a Daft Punk avatar any time soon. Avatars for sale don’t add much value to the user experience, and in fact could detract from the experience of DJ Wooooo and other super DJs who have worked hard for their robot helmets. Instead, I think Seth, Billy Chasen and the rest of the team will get creative, with virtual goods specifically designed to increase social interaction and engagement. One example of this might be, similar to “bottle service” in real life, you could imagine a group of people each paying to have access to a “couch area”, with perks like a private chat window among themselves (in addition to the main chat box) or virtual drinks that you could gift to other members in the room.
Of course, all of this is just my own speculation, but with Turntable.fm evolving at breakneck speed, don’t be surprised if some of these features pop up sooner rather than later.