Turntable.fm Helps Us All to Revive the Glory of the Mixtape... TOGETHER

Let's make a rainbow connection with music, shall we?
Publish date:
September 28, 2011
music, obsessions, mixtapes, stuck in the 90s, turntable.fm

Turntable.fm, kids. I’m obsessed. Turntable.fm is, at its core, a social music sharing site, but it’s oh so much more.

Here’s how it works: You have to login with Facebook. (I know, I hate it too.) And you have to be in the US. (Sorry, non-Americans, but you guys got Spotify way before us, so we might be even.)

You create a room, or join an existing one. You have a wee little avatar. You put your wee little avatar up at the DJ table. You get at least one other person to sit next to you. This is important, because unless you have at least two people “spinning,” you will only be able to listen to a preview of each song, which is a super buzzkill.

You and your wee DJ friend(s) trade off choosing songs. Songs you like, you can rate as “Awesome,” which makes your wee little avatar’s wee little head bob rhythmically (this may be my favorite part, OK). Ratings of “awesome” get you DJ points, which you can use to change your wee little avatar’s wee little clothes. Ratings of “lame” force the song to skip. There’s also a chat window, but who needs that? You are communicating with MUSIC.

Yeah, all right, parts of this site are kinda silly. I’d be fine with jettisoning the rating system and its implied popularity contest, and focusing on what turntable.fm does best: realtime social music sharing with friends and strangers.

Here’s where I date myself. Back in the day, I was a bleeding MASTER at the art of the mix tape, folks. Today, this is like saying you were a child prodigy on the zither; that’s interesting, but who the crap plays the zither anymore?

My mix tapes were handcrafted masterpieces of psychological manipulation. I wanted someone to ask me out? I’d make them a mix tape to that end. IT WOULD HAPPEN. I was a a grand high priestess in mixtape magic.

Turntable.fm is sort of a live-communal-mix-tape-making opportunity. OK, so you’re less able to insert subliminal posthypnotic suggestions to your victims via song selection. But it takes everything else wonderful about the lost craft of the mix and makes it a social activitiy.

The best experiences are the ones in which the virtual DJs listen to one another and choose songs based on what other people are spinning. It seems like every room I’m in eventually turns into a goth club, but that’s probably just me. If Turntable.fm’s extensive selection does not satisfy you, you can always upload songs from your own library.

I got to introduce a whole room to the dance-provoking prowess of Black Kids (and guys if you are similarly uninformed on this important matter I hereby peer-pressure you into getting into that website immediately), and had someone else show me the awesomeness of Carolina Chocolate Drops. Turntable.fm is like hanging out in your bedroom with friends, listening to each other’s music. Only it’s for adults. And you don’t have to clean up the place to receive visitors.

Look, I even made a room exclusively for xoJane readers! Commence rocking out. Or dancing in your underwear, if that’s your thing. It sure is mine.