2021 is bringing back some good things we’ve lost in the past. Social DJ site Turntable.fm launched ten years ago, letting people take turns to add songs to a shared playlist in a room with their friends (or strangers). Sadly, it shut down in 2013 over high operating costs and a shrinking audience. Now, though, not only is the website itself back up and running (though with a password required for access), there’s also another effort to bring it back in a new form.
Founder Billy Chasen responded to a tweet confirming his involvement with the revived website, which currently doesn’t appear to be available to the public. Some people are reporting issues like tracks missing even while searching with a video ID, but the majority of questions are folks asking for access. Details on when this might open to the public are also sparse.
Meanwhile, one of the original founding team members Joseph Perla announced in February that he was bringing the service back as Turntable.org with a target April beta launch date. Perla’s version will be mobile-first and appears to involve a subscription payment model. Perla is also working with Simon Oxley, founding designer of Turntable.fm’s avatars.
While the original version relied on YouTube videos to provide music, Turntable.org will also support MP3 uploads, according to its website. Clearly, this version needs to work out how to work with the music industry if it’s planning to enable that, and in its press release the company wrote that it plans to “develop a breakthrough use case and business model that works for both artists and fans.”
A sound business model is vital to ensuring either version of the revived Turntable will stick around. Perla’s team launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target of $500,000 and has already raised $522,400. Those who supported will receive various perks like discounted subscriptions at launch, early access, downloadable avatars, special badges and more. These efforts to create a source of income might help Turntable.org fulfil the promise it made on its site: “We’re designed to stick around forever, promise.”