May 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Top 5 Turntable.fm Clones Want to Throw Your Next Listening Party

Plug.dj and other relatively new entrants elaborate on the avatar-based group listening web app concept pioneered by Turntable.fm.

The genius of Turntable.fm is the way its design is perfectly reflective of its function. The first time you visit it, you can tell that this is a place where people gather to play music to each other.

Turntable.fm isn’t as hyped as it once was — in fact, it has become nearly as popular to bash the service now as it was to use it last year. Nonetheless, Turntable.fm has plenty of funding behind it and a concept that still makes as much intuitive sense as it did when it launched, regardless of what pundits are saying about it.

This mirroring of form and function is what separated Turntable.fm from other early group listening rooms. It’s also what distinguishes these Turntable.fm alternatives to a lesser extent, because they didn’t come up with the idea (and neither did these guys, apparently).

Each of these web apps uses a graphical design to depict group listening, just like the grandaddy of them all. Sometimes the DJ is in the back of the room, sometimes there’s video, and sometimes there are extra features you won’t find on Turntable.fm, but really, each of the following upstarts owes a huge debt to Turntable.fm.

Here they are, these Turntable.fm-inspired web apps, in order of perceived (by us) excellence:

1. Plug.dj

Plug.dj makes no secret of its inspiration, but it goes beyond Turntable.fm in a number of ways. Most notably, plug.dj (pictured above) works internationally instead of just in the states; it lets you DJ video; the avatars dance; it includes a more elaborate system for accumulating points (you also score when people add something you played to their queue, and when you vote); and you can change the settings in the rooms you create to limit the number of people who can join, as well as setting other rules. An API lets geeks customize their listening rooms even further.

2. Cred.fm

For starters, you get more handsome avatars in this one, which look more like actual people than the little cartoons in Turntable.fm. Also, cred.fm runs entirely within Facebook, although you have a good amount of control over how much posting it can do on your behalf. Its deep Facebook integration means that not only can you invite friends to join your room, but you can recommend any song you hear in the service to any of your Facebook friends, in addition to your followers within the service.

3. Rolling.fm

The first Turntable.fm clone to catch our eye, this app, created by a former Google engineer, seems to focus mainly on dance party music, and we’ve seen it fill up with people from various universities. It might be considered the college houseparty of Turntable.fm clones.

4. PicoTube

Like some of the other Turntable.fm clones we’ve seen, PicoTube relies on YouTube for its content, rather than inking label deals on its own, the way Turntable.fm did.  On the upside, this means your avatars get to watch video as songs play, instead of just dancing. Also, PicoTube moves the DJ to the front of the room… innovation at work!

5. BeatRobo

BeatRobo is a lot like PicoTube; in fact, we encountered both on the show floor at SXSW Interactive, and both come from Japan. The design departs a bit from the usual, and it also includes neat features like the ability to leave shout-outs for friends. If they encounter the same song later, they’ll see your shout-out.

Honorable Mentions

In other languages:

For video:
For karaoke:
Are we missing anything from this list? Please send any Turntable.fm clones you spot to our tips address.
  • http://twitter.com/jovanybz Jovany O’Brien

    I totally agree with the plug.dj praise completely. As someone who is not from the US, I felt completely left out when it comes to sites like these, and when I found plug.dj I was happy that I could sign up. Apart from the points mentioned, the fact that it’s International exposes music lovers to artists/bands/DJs from countries outside the major music markets, that one may not normally have discovered. I love it and it’s really addictive!

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

    Im a big fan and user of plug.dj as well. As Jovany im not from the US and have been waiting for a site like this to be open internationally. You can simply find the track you want to play on YouTube or Soundcloud and paste the link into your playlist :)

  • Royal Soda

    Wow, the post regarding plug.dj is very accurate. It exceeds that though, as it has an in real time translation system so even people across the world can communicate with ease at plug.dj. Most of all, I love how plug.dj listens to their community for new ideas. It’s just an amazing site!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicolaio-El-Grande/1428662608 Nicolaio El Grande

    Living in germany, i gotta say that the international part is definately Plug.dj s biggest advantage. Theres also always a SU online to get in touch and get help and big events with people from all around the world. 

    Won’t forget chatting live with Lazy Rich :)

  • Thjgs

    I think plug.dj is taking this type of online social dj’ing to the next level.

    Big Fan!

  • Roquestar DJ

    As other people here, I’m from Spain, so is the first time we have a service like plug.dj available in our country. Such a great place to stay all night listening to music with others! and it´s translated to 8 languages!! Awesome!
    I´m discovering new music everyday, and using Youtube and Soundcloud as sources form music means “Endless Music Catalog” 
    LOVE IT!

  • Brooke

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

    Like others that have already commented, I love plug.dj! A friend introduced me to it a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Even though I live in the US, I have friends that are outside of the US and I appreciate that the site is international. I also really like the real-time chat translation as it allows me to talk about music with people from all over the world! I have discovered so much new music since joining…especially French hip hop!

    If you haven’t tried plug.dj yet, I highly recommend it!

  • hmmmmm

    I find all this praise suspicious, especially being posted all around the same time.

  • Pyrotar

    Yea, but it is still an awesome website.

  • Austin Ludlow

    and now its shutting down :(

  • Christy

    Testing plug.dj now. Cool interface, you choose music from youtube or sound cloud… important note that it only allows one DJ at time – bummer for me and the coworkers!