We're listening to Selena Gomez right now, but not by choice. Some user from the U.K. is playing it in the room we're in on Turntable.fm, the newest, coolest music thing to hit the Internet. And yeah, in case you're wondering, Turntable.fm is every bit as cool as it's hyped up to be.
To some, Turntable.fm is just another way to waste time online while at work. To others, it's the future of music. Case in point: Diplo used Turntable.fm to test the waters for some new Major Lazer tracks recently, and when other users in the room thought the songs were lame, Diplo peaced out.
So how does Turntable.fm work? First of all, it's not exactly open to everyone. Just like the hottest club around, you need to know somebody on the inside to get yourself in. That's where Facebook comes in -- you can use your Facebook account to sign in and, if any of your friends are already on Turntable.fm, consider yourself in. If you're afraid of Facebook privacy and plugins and all that, you can always sign up for admission in Le Club de Turntable.fm via email, but don't hold your breath -- we had been waiting for our email invitation since June before getting so anxious we couldn't take it anymore.
Once in, you can move your avatar from room to room, with names like "Indie While You Work," "I
As songs are played -- each DJ gets to play one song during their turn, in a round-robin fashion -- you can either vote it "lame" or "awesome," and when you think a song is "awesome," your avatar's head starts bobbing, as if you were at an actual show.
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Fair warning: if you think one song is "lame" while others think it's "awesome," they may call you out on it in the chat sidebar -- apparently Britney Spears is as popular as ever on Turntable.fm. Lesson learned. Sheesh.
To play a song, you'll need to wait til another user steps down from the deck or is removed because of playing too many lame songs in a row. In some instances, you'll need to obey the room rules -- like play three and step down. The more users who like what you play, the more DJ points you get, and the more avatars you can unlock -- and the more awesome you become. Unlike Last.fm and Pandora, users can upload their own songs and play them on Turntable.fm, which, at this rate, will likely become the go-to place for discovering new music and for musicians to premiere songs in the next few months. If your library is limited, you can also find a song to play in the online library.
The songs people play are usually of such an eclectic mix that you never know what you're going to get next. And although most rooms have a specific theme they try to stick to, it's all subjective, so what you may think is considered pop, someone else may consider new wave. Either way, each room will keep you guessing and give you a lot to talk about in the chat bar.
The most interesting collection of DJs so far when we've been logged in has been in the Tank Tops Only room; what they spin is so random, it's like combining your music library with your ten-year-old sister's. And that is the beauty of Turntable.fm.