Music lovers, let me introduce you to your next big addiction: Turntable.fm. Think the endless playlists of Pandora, but entirely user generated and controlled. Folks just like you and me create rooms, take turns playing songs, chatting, and interacting with one another to gather precious, precious DJ points.
There're only two ways to get into Turntable.fm right now, it looks like. The easiest is logging in through Facebook. If you have a friend already using the service, you're good to go. If not, you can sign up for the invite list, and wait for Turntable to open up a bit.
Once you're in, it's easy as pie to start discovering new music and get yourself into the mix. You're presented with a list of user-created rooms and the option to open your own if you don't see your preferred jams.
Each room has five DJ spots that rotate, and the rest of the users populate a crowd that judges each tune, deeming it "lame" or "awesome." As for picking tunes, there's a central Turntable list you select from, or you can upload songs yourself if you don't see what you're looking for.
For folks who want to try to rise through the ranks as social DJs, that last bit is pretty crucial. Whenever someone likes the song you're playing they can become your fan or click "awesome" to give you props, which will net you points in return. Do you play a crowd-pleaser sure to get clicks, or do you risk it with something new, hoping it'll blow up and attract a quick flood of fans?
Get enough points, and you can unlock new avatars for yourself:
It's all still very early, but it looks like the site is exploring other options, too. For instance, users can also give points to one another — say, a room host giving points to DJs who come play in the room he created. If you like what's being played, you can also share it with your friends through the usual suspects — Facebook, Twitter and email — or add the song to your Turntable playlist, iTunes, Last.fm and the like.
We imagine that more ways to gain points and new avatars and rewards will be added as things get going, but Turntable.fm is already shaping up to be horribly, scarily addictive, and a great way to discover new music and some old favorites, thanks to the live interaction of a crowd of listeners..
That said, it's really only the social aspect that's gelling right now. Up against services such as Pandora, Grooveshark, Last.fm and the like, Turntable.fm is lacking a lot of features and polish, but it's off to a very promising start. It's definitely the kind of service that lives or die by the interest in it — too few, and it breaks down into a clique-ridden bore.
We're hopping around exploring different rooms right now. If you see @dvice, say yo!