If you’re like us and spend most of your time online, by this point you’ve probably heard about Turntable.fm and have maybe even spun a few tracks under a hokey name and a bobbling avatar. The invite-only site, which allows anyone — with a Facebook account, at the very least — to become a DJ and throw out a few songs in a 90s-style chatroom environment (Coordinated rooms joining friends across the country! Dozens of “2011 Indie Pop” rooms filled with strangers!), has become immensely popular with music and internet nerds alike. And now, Turntable.fm has secured licenses with both ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), two of the three US performing rights organizations, removing itself from semi-shady sharing territory and into a fully legal position.
You can imagine the potential problems with copyright issues. To play songs, DJs can either search Turntable.fm’s massive database (which includes everything from Wiz Khalifa to Dvořák recordings) or upload tracks from his/her personal collection. This always seemed a bit sketchy, despite the CEO’s claims that as a “non-interactive” site (as in, a streaming service, since users have almost no power over what other DJs play), it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But with the ASCAP and BMI licenses, it’s ensured that “songwriters, composers and publishers will be paid fairly if the site succeeds,” sending Turntable.fm on its way to being a legit music service. (For more details on ASCAP’s involvement and what it means, go here.)
In short, you’re not ripping any artists off by uploading an MP3 to impress the experimental nuts in the “We Love Nurse With Wound” room. And hey, you’re at a site where such a room can exist alongside ones blasting James Blake — how sweet is that?
• Turntable.fm: http://turntable.fm