Today, Turntable.fm has announced that it will shut down its ‘virtual dj’ product entirely to focus on its new Turntable Live platform, which attempts to replicate the ‘being there’ experience of live performances. TechCrunch broke the news of Turntable.fm’s live event pivot back in September, but today the company has acknowledged that Turntable.fm will be shuttered.
The news comes in a blog post by the Turntable team, where it details the efforts to get Turntable.fm, which was beloved by a core group of users, to work on a wider scale.
“For over 2 years, we’ve improved and evolved the turntable.fm experience. We made rooms expand to unlimited sizes, made thousands of UI improvements, launched GOLD, built a mini-player, designed tons of avatars and listened to our community, trying to make the experience as wonderful as possible,” says the posting. “Over those two years, the community has played over 400 million songs in about a million rooms.”
Unfortunately, those efforts weren’t enough. Comscore numbers in September put Turntable traffic at around 89k uniques. When he spoke to us a couple of months ago, Founder Billy Chasen said that the removal of the ability to upload music was able to save the company about $20k a month. But the posting says that the price of running the music service remained too high.
“It was a tough decision to make because we love this community so much, but the cost of running a music service has been too expensive and we can’t outpace it with our efforts to monetize it and cut costs,” says the posting. “If we also want to give Turntable Live a real shot, we need to fully focus on it.”
The company says that playlists and songs will be able to be exported via Spotify or CSV file. It’s also making avatars available for everyone, rather than just those who have leveled up. It’s going to work on making ‘anonymous’ raw data dumps of Turntable info available for developers to play with.
The company says it will host a live party on Turntable.fm on December 2. Presumably the site will be shut down after that date.
Here’s an example of what a Turntable Live performance looks like.
I always found Turntable.fm quite cool, but the basic concept had some distinct flaws. Streaming music is often something that people listen to in the background, without the time or inclination to directly participate. Having humans program your stream is kind of neat, but the overhead of hanging out in a special online room to do so ended up not panning out. A live event is another whole bag entirely, as people would theoretically be showing up for a specific reason and hanging out would feel like less of a chore. At least, that’s what Turntable is betting on. We’ll see.
In the meantime, come pour one out on Turntable.fm here.