September 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Turntable.fm Kills Uploads, Irking Users (Updated)

turntablefm

Turntable.fm, as first reported here, once rocked the online world by making it possible for people to transform themselves into cute little avatars and DJ music to each other in virtual rooms, replete with chat and voting on songs. It users accumulate points when people like what they play, or their song gets skipped if too many people in the room don’t like it, which is why we said it “takes ‘social music’ beyond the buzzword.”

This was a breakthrough concept, but Turntable.fm’s popularity has been on the wane for quite some time — and now, it has killed off one of its most beloved features: the ability to upload rare tracks that are not in the service’s standard music catalog, which is licensed from MediaNet.

“The change we made yesterday, removing the ability to upload music directly, will reduce our monthly bill by roughly $20,000,” explained Turntable.fm founder and CEO Billy Chasen (updated). “That’s a huge saving that we need and we thought validated adding an extra step to uploading (upload it on SoundCloud and search for it on Turntable). It was a choice we had to make to keep the service running.”

If you click the upload button now, you see this.

This was the feature that allowed users to post songs or remixes that they themselves had personally recorded, which is why people liked it so much. Turntable.fm users can still play those songs, but first, they’ll need to upload that music to SoundCloud.com, adding a time-consuming step to the process. It also means that if a song runs afoul of SoundCloud’s usage restrictions (including against copyright infringement, like when you remix or mash-up a song without permission), you can no longer play it on Turntable.fm.

“So far the community reaction has been quite negative,” said a tipster who preferred to remain anonymous.  ”I know quite a few users who are quitting because of it.”

From my testing, it appears that songs already uploaded by users will still be playable, so it’s only the new songs that must be uploaded to SoundCloud instead.

Turntable.fm’s blog makes no mention of the removal of this feature, which is presumably due to copyright, just as Michael Masnick had feared.

Update: If you’re interested in Turntable.fm, it’s well worth reading Chasen’s entire blog post for more context on this situation.

  • TW

    RIP tt.fm

  • djblender

    why does tt.fm suck in ’13….it’s the money!

  • David Maxwell II

    RIP TT. The reason I enjoyed it so much is the access to new music constantly. I don’t have to search as hard on my own for great Trance/House. We will find somewhere else to land, because TT is dead.

  • CHIMBAU

    RIP TT

  • http://www.facebook.com/CaptainRonJovi Ron Bronson

    come on people, I’m a SU on TT.fm and as much as it sucks, we need to stick together and support the site until it is a financially viable entity. You all know it’s about $$$ and TT doesn’t have the revenue to continue as in the past. With your continued support, they will hopefully have the time to build the revenue to survive. Not possible if everyone abandons ship.

  • Guest

    Here you go everyone straight from TT………

    Hi everyone. I know that you all would have prefered learning about this beforehand, but today has been…hectic. I apologize for the fact that I didn’t get an announcement out to you at least before this went live.

    What has happened is this: we are no longer in a position to allow uploads on turntable.fm. I know that’s an unsatisfying non-answer, but it’s all I can really say on it. In order to give people access to as many songs as possible we added SoundCloud integration. SoundCloud isn’t meant as a substitution for uploading as much as it is an augmentation to the database.

    Some notes on SoundCloud songs:

    *SoundCloud only has titles, so our code assumes that the information that we’re getting is formatted “artist name – song title”. All information before the dash is the artists name and after is the song title. If we can’t find an artists name there is no dash we will use the name of the account that uploaded the song.

    *SoundCloud songs are DMCA exempt.

    I know that this changes how lots and lots of people use the site, I’ve gotten a lot of anger and disappointment from users today, but it is something that had to be done. If we could just roll back the change because people didn’t like it you’d damn well better believe that we would. This is kind of a punch in the gut all around and I’ll do my best to answer questions as well as I can. A blog post will go up as soon as a few other background things are worked out, this change went out the door quicker than expected, but you can share any info here with others.

  • AmP

    No one’s going to stay when the developers keep changing things that no one wants done, and not fixing things that everyone wants done.

  • Anonymous

    Just canceled my Gold membership.

  • someone

    this has legitimately ruined the site. no new users will sign up, and im sure that most people who dont have that many songs uploaded before this (like myself) will continue using it. i will not be surprised when tt finally dies

  • Tom Bötsch

    Just come on over to plug.dj , there you have soundcloud & youtube + video & a worldwide community.

  • AwwHell

    :(

  • eh

    Judging by their “about us” page, it seems they have laid off 9 people since may, so they may be in cost-cutting mode (might explain the “non-answer”). One of the mods came into our room and, when I suggested making it a gold-only feature, said that the monthly cost per member would have to be “three figures” ($100+/month) to justify allowing uploads. So I don’t think this is a copyright issue so much as a financial one.

    Before / after: http://cl.ly/image/1i1K3M28203b

  • Anonymous

    RIP TT. It is a death by 1000 blows. As a deep-cuts listener, I’ve been less and less able to find any community there. I can’t find anybody spinning anything interesting lately. Many of my music aficianado friends were afraid to use it. So critical mass ain’t there. And TT never communicated at all with their SUs like me.

    They should’ve tweaked their algorithm at some point. When you have a button sitting there as big as daylight called Lame … But no one is supposed to use it .. You know your algorithm has problems.

    But I had many happy memories at TT … And some awful memories too of bullying knuckledraggers.

  • Sergio

    Yup, I’m with TW. I’ve been straddling the fence for a while, but today I’m finally making the move completely to plug.dj. So long TT!

  • mashupfm

    The MashupFM community (one of the strongest and biggest) has began to partially move over to plug.dj http://plug.dj/mashupfm/ . Mods are already being setup and we are going to continue to run both rooms.

  • Sapient

    I’m glad to not have to download/rip tracks from SC anymore to then have to upload to turntable. I think some of the “producers” are a bit short-sighted in making the quick switch to other sites. Odds of ME playing your music just went up because I don’t have to deal with extra steps anymore.

  • ThisIsAGuestNickName

    thx for pointing me towards that website, shit is way better than TT anyway. You can gank songs straight off of youtube…

  • Myles Dunhill

    face it Sap, getting rid of uploads shouldn’t be traded for soundcloud. Both should be offered. Enjoy the cruise cuz that ship is sinking way too fast.