The service, unveiled earlier this year, has very quickly become something of a phenomenon. The idea is simple enough: five DJs pick tunes (either from Turntable.fm’s substantial catalog or their own libraries) and listeners decide whether a song is “awesome” or “lame.” If a song receives enough “lame” votes it gets skipped, and “awesome” votes allow DJs to rack up points.
Couple that basic, powerful premise with a slick chat feature and the ability to create your own room or join one of many preexisting ones (the system prioritizes rooms where your Facebook friends are already hanging out), and you’ve got one of our favorite new music services of recent memory.
With the release of the free iOS app, Turntable.fm users are no longer limited to their bedrooms or offices when grooving along with their virtual DJ buddies. All you’ll need is a couple of friends with iPhones, a cheap cable, and a Wi-Fi or 3G connection in order to host your next real-life group-DJ’ed extravaganza. Or, for passive listening, Turntable.fm can now function as a streaming radio station for the car.
As predicted, the app is a scaled-down version of its web-based antecedent. Those familiar, cute little cartoon avatars are still there, as is the stage and “lame” to “awesome” meter.
And it performs well: We experienced no skipping, decent sound, and impressively little lag when connected over Wi-Fi or 3G. One major difference, as we expected, is that you can only add songs from Turntable.fm’s catalog to your queue from the iOS version — no uploading from your iPhone’s music library.
Not only does the app do a good job of translating the web Turntable.fm experience to the iPhone and iPod touch, it does so really smoothly. We once entered the “Electronic Anything” room only to be serenaded with the same Doobie Brothers tune from the classic rock room, but this was remedied in a matter of seconds.
Other than that one instance and the occasional lag one has to expect when streaming music onto a mobile device, the app runs just as smoothly as its big brother.
In closing, a tip: Users planning to use the app on a 3G connection ought to make sure they’ve got an unlimited data plan. Otherwise, we can imagine it’d be pretty easy to suck up all your data for the month in a few sittings once mobile Turntable.fm addiction sets in.