Regular Radio Survivor readers are doubtlessly aware of Turntable.fm, my colleague Matthew’s favorite online music site. Turntable lets users join a room, pick an avatar and play DJ for all the other listeners in the virtual club. Matthew likes the “Classical of all kinds” room, but there are rooms dedicated just about every other genre or subgenre out there.
Inc. magazine recently published a profile of Turntable’s two founders: Billy Chasen, the passionate and creative coder, and Seth Goldstein, the marketer and rainmaker. Turntable debuted with a splash last year, but has seen its traffic slowly decline since. Recently the site announced a new deal with the major labels just ahead of last month’s SXSW festival. Writer Burt Helm accompanies both men at Turntable-sponsored events, documenting the waves of tension between them.
"In the green room before Turntable’s first SXSW panel, it’s easy to see how months of this personality friction has worn on these two. When Goldstein arrives, he asks to see Chasen’s 10-minute presentation, the one he wanted to make alone before the panel discussion and Q&A.
“Chasen barely looks up from his laptop: ‘You can watch it onstage. I have work to do.’”
The article also reveals Chasen’s plans for a more passive-listening experience with a project called “Kiwi,” intended to go after users who want something more like Pandora. Instead of creating your own customized station, Kiwi would provide playlists based upon the recommendations of your friends.
It seems like this feature would fulfill a desire expressed candidly by Goldstein back in February. He told a panel at Social Media Week that
“I wish it was more background. …
"In a way I think there are a lot of passive services that aim to be more engaging. We have the opposite problem. It’s really engaging for a small community. Because typically, if you use Turntable, you go in and you get addicted, and spend four days of your life not doing much of anything else. And then you say, ‘I just can’t do this any more. I’ve got to get back to my life.’ Right?
“So our challenge is how do we open up Turntable to make it easier for passive listening.
"The reality is that I love Turntable. My kids love Turntable. (But when making dinner) I’ll put on Pandora and just put it in the background.”