Turntable.fm, the social music site that allows users to take turns DJing, announced at a SXSW panel on the future of the service yesterday (March 13) that they had secured licensing agreements with all four major labels. Co-founders Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein explained to Billboard, “This feels like an all-time record speed launch - when we launched we really didn’t come at this from the music industry, it was all new to us.” Given the ongoing battles between major labels and other music streaming services such as Grooveshark, it’s pretty commendable that they were able to lock down these deals after being in business for less than a full year.
So why the eagerness by the major labels to get on board with a service that has a fraction of the number of users of Spotify and Pandora? Well, the majors are apparently getting hip to this whole social media gaming trend and see Turntable as a natural extension of the Zynga culture that Facebook has wrought upon us. In addition to just joining a room and queueing up tunes, Turntable.fm allows participants to rate other users DJ abilities, granting them style points that can be accrued and redeemed for upgraded avatars.
In the near future, the plan is to expand what users can use their points toward to include more target market-oriented branded material. Not only will you be able to look like a snazzy Pete Fowler-esque character, but maybe you could look like a Lady Gaga cartoon holding a can of Pepsi! Since Turntable plans on continuing to avoid traditional banner ad advertising on its site, they’ll instead focus on these types of interactive and immersive branding experiments in order to produce revenue, meaning the possibilities for corporate synergy are truly mind boggling. Hence the tingly feeling (a.k.a. boners) the major label execs got as they rushed to license their music to Turntable.fm.
• Turntable.fm: http://turntable.fm/lobby