March 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

Plug.dj Adds Video to the Turntable.fm Concept, But Will Anybody Care?

plugdj plug.dj

Here I am in the most populous room in Plug.dj... with four other people.

What an original idea: A bunch of rooms where cute little avatars can DJ music to each other!

That’s what we said last May, before breaking the news (we think) about Turntable.fm, after surprising its cofounder Billy Chasen with a call to his cellphone.

If you’ve tried the social DJ web or iOS app Turntable.fm, you already understand 90 percent of the new social music service plug.dj, which similarly turns us into cartoon avatars so we can play music to each other in virtual listening rooms.

Using Plug.dj, which runs in the web browser of your computer or Android smartphone, requires that you sign in with Twitter, Facebook, or Google. The company promises not to do anything you won’t like with your personal data, but as with other applications that require social log-ins, we wonder why we can’t use a plain old email verified too, if that’s really the case. (According to Facebook, plug.dj can only access your name and email address anyway, so what’s the difference?)

 

Once you’re logged in, everything else on plug.dj is pretty much identical or similar to Turntable.fm, except for where the music comes from. Its music catalog is far more restrictive than that of Turntable.fm. Plug.dj only searches YouTube and SoundCloud, and doesn’t let you upload anything yourself. Turntable.fm, on the other hand, recently inked deals with all four major labels, and lets you upload even the weird remixes

This approach — of using YouTube as an app platform – adds video to the rooms, but the real reason plug.dj is using it (along with SoundCloud) is likely so that it doesn’t have to try to ink direct licensing deals with the labels, the way Turntable.fm finally did after receiving a cash infusion from Union Square Ventures, Jimmy Fallon, former MySpace Music President Courtney Holt, and others.

There are other differences between plug.dj and Turntable.fm, albeit fairly minor ones. On Turntable.fm, you make one song queue that you take to every room where you might DJ. Plug.dj improves on that “single playlist” concept by letting you create multiple playlists so you don’t have to worry about getting “lamed” for playing one of your favorite slow jams in the hardcore thrash metal room. Except on plug.dj, it’s “Woot!” instead of “Awesome,” and “Meh” instead of “Lame.” Oh, and the DJs face the back of the room, rather than looking at you.

Plug.dj makes no secret of its similarity to Turntable.fm, and even offers a feature for importing playlists from it, as well as from YouTube or SoundCloud.

But will enough people actually use plug.dj, which appears to have launched in January, for it to become worthwhile? After all, social music services only work if they have a healthy amount of “social,” and in our plug.dj testing, the most popular room included seven users. Plug.dj isn’t even the only Turntable.fm clone competing for our attention — see also Rolling.fm, PicoTube, and BeatRobo.

However, Plug.dj did stream the Ultra Music Festival live to one of its rooms, essentially turning the festival into a permanent DJ; more tie-ins like that could help. Also, so far anyway, the service seems to focus on electronic dance party music, which could help differentiate it. As we speculated earlier when reviewing Rolling.fm, maybe the world has room for more than one “Turntable.fm” — each for a specific type of music fan.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also worth mentioning that by going with YouTube and SoundCloud support it allows plug.dj to reach an international audience — something Turntable.fm has yet to do — so that DJ’s and Musicians can further their reach to an international audience.

  • Rwk815

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Get your facts straight. Plug.dj didn’t launch in January. It launched on February 29th. The fact that it is International is a BIG deal. You can’t expect plug.dj to look or act nothing like Turntable.fm. It’s called competition. And without competition, we would still be watching black and white televisions. Plug.dj has MUCH more potential than turntable.fm has, but unfortunately there are people who are too ignorant to realize that.  

  • Sir WhiteKid

    This is a totally UN-reliable source. First of all, your spelling/grammar is pretty atrocious, I could hardly understand what you were trying to say. Secondly, your facts are all wrong. For example, you claim that Plug.dj launched in January, but they actually launched on February 29th. No one should trust this article, it was written by someone who clearly has no idea what they are talking about.  

  • http://twitter.com/lambotherabbit jason brennan

    you seriously have no idea. yes, i will admit, plug is like Turntable, but it is FAR better. 1. Its still in beta, so the staff is right there along side you while you test and they will fix anything. 2. the avatars are much more advanced, they actually dance! 3. the deck set up is different and in my opinion better 4. the staff takes suggestions and applies them immediately, unlike turntable where they have to have a huge release. 5. international 6. competition is good for the economy. 7. no room size limit! 

  • Max Cage

    As stated below you have clearly overlooked the INTERNATIONAL aspect of this site. Hence, this allows every aspiring DJ to come together into one site, whereas turntable.fm is strictly U.S. Just gonna finish off with saying that there a lot of unreliable information in this article and the facts should of been reviewed first before being posted like this.

  • http://twitter.com/lambotherabbit jason brennan

    also when you say that plug.dj’s music is “too restrictive”, this is a completely false statement, there is so much more music on youtube and sound cloud than turntable could ever hope for. if anything, turntable is the restrictive one.

  • GetJuked

    First, the site launched on Feb 29th, as shown here:
    http://blog.plug.dj/2012/02/join-party-plug.html , if you’re going to
    make claims, at least get your facts straight. Second, plug.dj is still
    in beta, and as I recall, Turntable.fm didn’t integrate email
    verification until fairly recently. I recently talked with one of the
    site’s creators, Steven Sacks, and he openly expressed that email
    verification is in the works. Third, in regards to using YouTube and
    SoundCloud for means of playing music, this was only integrated as a
    means to enhance the music experience. As stated later in the article,
    we managed to stream Ultra Music Festival the entire weekend. It also
    allows a chance for artists to actually SHOW everyone what they are
    capable of, not just playing a mix and letting the audio play. If you’ve
    ever attended any sort of music event, it’s more than just playing
    music, it’s about putting on a show and feeling the ebb and flow of the
    crowd. Plug.dj allows you to showcase just how an new artist does that.
    Fourth, the “minor” differences you state between plug.dj and
    Turntable.fm do actually bear some weight. Sure, the WOOT/MEH buttons vs
    Awesome/Lame may be something that can be overlooked, however, with how
    the DJ stands and crowd is set up is not a minor difference.
    Turntable.fm ‘s setup has it set up so that everyone is clumped together
    in one small basement with 5 djs staring at you from a platform.
    plud.dj ‘s setup gives you the sense that you are actually giving the
    listeners a show with ONE dj on the decks, while the other 4 wait in a
    line to the side. If you actually paid attention to how the crowd works
    as well, you would understand better. Your avatar is always front and
    center in the crowd, with your friends and fans close by, while everyone
    else that you don’t know are put farther back in the room. It lets you
    be closer to your friends in a slightly more physical manner than
    Turntable.fm , which just randomly throws you in a spot on the floor.
    Fifth, your claim that the largest rooms only had 7 seven people at most
    shows you obviously did not test the site out well enough. Over the
    past month, I have seen multiple rooms bring in 35+ people to one room;
    and during the livestream we showcased for Ultra Music Festival, he
    managed over 50 users in one room (and they were all active, unlike the
    majority of Turntable.fm rooms where the majority of users are AFK for
    days on end). Don’t get me wrong, Turntable.fm was a pioneer in this
    sort of online experience, I used it for over a year religiously. But
    once I saw what plug.dj was capable of (like international streaming and
    doing more than just playing music), I realized its potential was far
    greater than anything Turntable.fm could’ve hoped for in its current
    state.

  • Perspective

    I hate sites that are blatant rip offs. They can’t even get creative in creating their own UI or design characters that differentiates themselves from turntable.fm. This is the problem with the music industry today. We create clones because it works for some quick press wishing that in turn it creates a quick buck. The music industry is where it is at today because the lack of creativity and originality. Innovate, people. Innovate! 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how plug.dj is a clone. Have you spent even 5 minutes on the website?  There is a difference between cloning and improving.

  • http://twitter.com/lambotherabbit jason brennan

    orly? plug.dj’s avatars are so much more intricate, they dance! and they look much better. turntable’s avatars bob their heads. not very interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/lambotherabbit jason brennan

    as stated above, the deck set up is also very different. have you ever even been on plug.dj? if you have, you would realize what youre saying is completely false. why don’t you go read the other comments before you make an idiot of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/concepcionian Ian Matthew Concepcion

    Plug.dj is also trying to integrate other possible websites to share your music thru plug.dj, such as mixcloud, etc. So there’s going to be a wide range of possibilities to share and play music. It’s pretty much open to anything. 

  • Housevibes

    Eliot, I expected more from you. Seriously. I’ve followed nearly all of your articles for a while now but this one just seems sloppy. A 2 second Quora search outlines several benefits of plug.dj. 
    http://www.quora.com/Turntable-fm/What-are-the-benefits-of-Plug-dj-over-Turntable-fm Go ahead. I’ll wait while you read it. Perspective, you may want to read that post too so that you can get a good understand of what innovating means. I can’t help but feel there is some hypocri$y going on here.

  • Industro Chem C0

    Also on another note, TT also has a strict policy on playing the same artist 3 times per hour. You CAN NOT exceed playing the same artists more than 3 times. I experienced this when I uploaded my own tracks and was not able to play them through like I wanted to. Plug.dj does not have this restriction and allows the user to have the freedom to play the same artist as many times as he/she would like to.

  • Perspective

    Jason, keep dick riding your platform. That never helped anyone or anything. Just telling it how it is. Take it how you want, but don’t sound like an immature child not getting the toy he wants at the toy store. Hate is the enemy of destruction. 

  • GetJuked

     Perspective, you’re telling Jason not to sound immature, yet you’re the one who has yet to give any actual proof as to why TT is better. Yes, the basic concept was taken from TT, but it was improved on such a level that there really shouldn’t be any contest between the two. Second, the majority of the people (if not all of them at the moment) made switch from turntable because they realized the potential and capabilities plug.dj has to offer. So please, stop trying to argue a point if you won’t back it up with any evidence. “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

  • Perspective

    As you’ll see throughout all my post, I never said what platform was better. I simply said it was a clone and that we need more innovation in this industry rather than cloning platforms. I agree the platform concept of group listening in such a manner as TT and Plug.dj is great, but if you’re going to create a platform and build advanced features within the UI and experience show some originality in the artistic standpoint. Plug.dj’s art strongly mirrors that of TT, and there is no arguing that. My point was simply that we need more innovation and not people cloning each other to the T. It’s becoming like the radio– where labels are cloning artist with a slight twist to differentiate just enough to make a quick buck. What the industry doesn’t need is a bunch of clones that are slightly better than each other. We need new and fresh platforms advancing music into the next stage.

    And for all those wondering, I enjoy the plug.dj platform. I just simply despise the blatant artistic ripoff of TT.

    As for Jason, I thoroughly enjoy your passions for the platform and what it is you love, but if you learn how to address people I think you’ll be able to take that passion so much further in life. Best of luck to you.

  • GetJuked

     You say that Plud.dj’s art strongly mirrors that of TT? Are you kidding me? Sure, the basic layout of the room is the same (dj decks and a crowd area), but artistically, they are completely different. For TT, you needed Chrome and add-ons to make the rooms look somewhat interesting. One of the first things that piqued my interest with plug was how artistic and colorful both the rooms and avatars were. Don’t tell me it lacks “originality in the artistic standpoint.” Last time I checked, TT’s most “artistic” avatars were bears that were basically different colors and spacemen with minor differences. On plug, each avatar is wildly different and each even has their own individual dance. If either site is lacking artistic originality, it’s TT. As for innovation, plug truly has it. I work for a promotion company based out of Atlanta, and my coworkers wanted something a bit more than artists just playing mixes that may or may not have taken them months to make. With plug.dj, if an artist posts a video of a live performance or them making a live mix and showing people they know what they’re doing, then people are more likely to respond. If that isn’t innovation for this sort of platform, I don’t know what is. Yes, plug has similarities with tt, but honestly, they don’t compare when looked at objectively.

  • http://twitter.com/lambotherabbit jason brennan

    hah. so, i call you an idiot because your article is completely bias in favor of turntable. alright, i was trolling a little. but you’re telling me to not be immature and then proceed to tell me to go fuck myself. i’m not “hating” on you. just pointing out your bias.

  • Perspective

    My article? And, when did I tell you to “go fuck yourself”? 

  • Perspective

    This is one big circle jerk between you and Jason. I’m not here saying any platform is better, but simply saying that we need more innovation than this. You guys need to stop dick riding the platform and see the larger picture. We all get that you Plug.dj gets you guys off. 

  • siggie

    oh god I hope the RIAA doesn’t catch wind of it’s success.

  • Rwk815

    I still don’t see how plug.dj isn’t innovative enough. If you want more innovation go make your own social DJing website and stop complaining about what YOU want.

  • http://twitter.com/plugdj plug.dj

    Hello, Eliot. I’m the CEO of plug.dj. I wanted to thank you for the time you took to write your article and for the feedback. We pride ourselves on being responsive to what our users have to say, and want to provide the best experience for everyone. If you want to know more about some of the  improvements in our pipeline, you can read about them on our blog at http://blog.plug.dj/2012/03/kaizen.html

  • YouAreAnIdiot

    Plug.dj is INTERNATIONAL, it even has a TRANSLATOR to use. You obviously only judge things based on how they look, not by actually testing them out for yourself. 

  • Rwk815

    Like a sir

  • GetJuked

     You said you wanted “real” innovation right? Well here you go buddy. http://blog.plug.dj/2012/03/kaizen.html

  • http://soundcloud.com/ignight ignight

    In my opinion, plug.dj has some great features that turntable has missed out on.  I think that some differentiation and competition in this new market is a beautiful thing!  We will hopefully see some new features on both sites.  Did you know that the site is available through out the world, and it has a built in translation function that allows you to speak with anyone!  Thanks to plug.dj, I now have followers in Germany and Brazil.  Although I love to promote my music through turntable as well, I cant say that it has helped me meet and interact with fans around the world!  I hope you can spend some time in plug and explore some of it’s awesome features

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beat-Scence/100000464790626 Beat Scence

    So, let me go ahead and give you my opinion on plug.dj, since obviously, your opinion is one sided due to other influences.

    First off, plug.dj has actually worked to NOT be a clone of turntable.fm, so therefore your efforts of twisted words to try and make it seem like a clone site, fail.

    Second off, plug.dj is an INTERNATIONAL site, meaning that anyone, from ANY country, can join. One of the primary goals of plug.dj is to actually network all music lovers, producers, DJ’s, etc.. with each other, something that turntable.fm doesn’t even really CARE about, (no turntable.fm does not care about their users, they simply care about collecting as much data from users as they can so they can submit the analyzed data to marketing research, how about you ask TURNTABLE, what data they get from your accounts? and maybe ask TURNTABLE why they don’t have e-mail login?)

    Third, just because YOUR room didn’t get popular in what…a couple of hours? maybe a day? You are going to call the site a failure? MY room actually has a constant flow of people off and on (20 to 30+ users) (yeah, what a fail huh?)
    (It seems to me you’re only basing this whole thing off YOU, not the site)

    If you look at your article objectively compared to the other articles you’ve written about other players in this space such as picotube and rolling.fm (a site that isn’t even around anymore), it’s so incredibly biased against plug.dj that the most likely conclusion is that you were paid by turntable to write it in some form or fashion. There’s no other reason that I can think of that you would use your position as a respected journalist to bash on plug.dj in favor of turntable, and put into question your integrity and reputation, than you got paid or offered enough by Seth and Billy to make it worthwhile. It’s clear you didn’t do any research, you even lied about the release date to make it seem like having 4 people in the room was worse, when pictotube has been out for 6 months and they had only 2 people in your room and you wrote positively about that.

    As for dismissing multiple playlists, I defy you to name a single popular music service outside of turntable that only has a single playlist. Should plug get kudos for having multiple playlists like every other music service except Turntable? Probably not, but when drawing a comparison between plug.dj and turntable, to spin it negatively as a minor difference is to ignore the fact that a music site which has been around for a year has never implemented something as trivial as multiple playlists, in the face of their users complaining about it constantly (yet another example of how turntable doesn’t care about their users). I’m reminded of the Chris Rock routine where he talks about people getting credit for something they’re supposed to do. A video, by the way, which can be watched on plug.dj.

    And this brings me to plug’s biggest differentiator, which seemed to be dismissed as if it wasn’t important. If video wasn’t an important component to the entertainment experience, then radio would still be king, and if video wasn’t an important component to the music listening experience, then MTV would have been an abysmal failure. Simply put, listening to the radio and watching videos are completely different experiences. Plus, because it’s video, anything goes, not just music, and in the context of plug.dj, it works. You can be in a room listening to Dubstep and somebody plays a funny video of a song about cats and everyone loves it. You act like that isn’t a big deal, but it is.

    Cheers,
    Jeramiah Sawyer (DJ Burn 1)aka
    Beat Scence

  • http://twitter.com/TheRemixMaster JT™

    Again I love plug.dj,. However I do think that it’s totally uncalled for say this isn’t an original idea. the first i notice was the universal translator which means i can understand what the french guy was screaming about.  and then there was the ability to import playlist and best of all watch MTV and could even hold an concert if someone wanted. the possibly are endless. Here i am in Japan, i just logged in, the rooms are pretty pack so maybe you just got into the wrong DJ room. lol. I see that you went into an electronic room maybe that explains it. try DJ Burns/Beat science now that room is a raving party almost 24hrs. Anyhow peace out love ya’ll 

  • http://twitter.com/HOMERJSlMPSON Homer Simpson

    I just wanted to point out, I know everyone on plug.dj, and I don’t know dimitri marcus, in fact, i’ve never seen them in any rooms i’ve ever been in, sounds like you just invited a few fellows and told them to say cheese

  • plugdjspammers

    look at all these plug.dj slaves spamming the web

  • http://twitter.com/TheGameIsBroken Marius J

    Hi Eliot!
    Plug.dj have
    added new features and gotten a lot of new users since you last checked it out.
    A blog post about it: http://blog.plug.dj/2012/04/hello-world-its-us-plugdj.html

    I’ve been a user of plug.dj for two months now, and I love it. They are open
    internationally, which makes it possible for us overseas to access it as well.
    It’s great for small DJ to share their music to likeminded DJs in other
    countries, and continents.

  • Brooke

    [Note: The reader informs us that she would no longer like to be associated with this comment.]

    I really like that plug.dj is international! I can DJ and play music with my friends that live outside of the US. I also really dig the cute avatars! :)

  • Royal_Soda

    Plug.DJ is fantastic, sadly, I think your article could use a bit of correction. Plug.DJ uses the TT.FM model but tries to improve it. For example, Plug.DJ is an international website with and in real time chat translator which supports over fifty languages. Also, Plug.DJ has claimed that they are planning on implementing a classic e-mail registration for the people whom don’t want to use Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

  • Barry

    I care, Turntable.fm is only for the US. plug.dj is for the whole world.

  • LikeTehBoss

    hi peepos