A guide to turntable.fm etiquette

Turntable.fm logo

Outside of Spotify, Turntable.fm has been one of the hottest startups to have been launched in the last several months. It now has more than 300K users and is seeking more funding.

More than Spotify, Pandora, last.fm or Rdio, turntable.fm is a social experience, and as such, it’s interesting to watch how users interact in the rooms.

With that, I’ve put together this quick guide to proper etiquette on turntable.fm, in the form of do’s and don’ts:

Do:

When you enter a room to DJ, get a lay of the land. Are DJs skipping outros? Is there a theme to the music? I DJ in a lot of hip-hop related rooms, but often I find the DJs are picking songs based on a theme (e.g. battle raps, emcees from Queens, etc.). If there’s no theme per se, just play songs that are consistent with the room title.
Be social, but be respectful. The biggest difference between Pandora and turntable.fm is that turntable is inherently social. Talk to the other DJs. (You can even “fan” them, which alerts you when they’re DJing.) A lot of the folks using the service are in the internet or music business; if you are too, it could be a good opportunity to network with them, so don’t disrespect them or the music they like.
Welcome new DJs to the service. When someone comes into the room, click on their avatar. If they have zero DJ points, they’re new to turntable.fm. Make them feel welcome; one easy way to do this is to “awesome” their first song, no matter what it is!
Skip your outros, if they’re long. A lot of hip-hop songs have extended outros and skits that can last up to two minutes after the song is over. Be cognizant of the fact that not everyone wants to hear the outro – in fact, there’s a good chance nobody wants to – and skip it.

Don’t:

Don’t click “Lame” unless you absolutely HAVE to. There are two reasons, really, for “Lame-ing” a song: if the song is inconsistent with the room’s theme, or if the DJ playing it is away from the computer. Otherwise, just hit “mute” and play something else. Either way, especially don’t lame at the very beginning of the song, as DJ Woooo said in this CNN article.
Don’t cut the line. In the more popular rooms on turntable.fm, there’s usually a DJ list. To find it, click the “Room Info” button towards the top of the page. (The list is usually a Google doc.) If you want to DJ, get your name on there, and stick around.
Don’t repeat songs. A big [analog] DJ faux-pas is to play songs twice, and there’s an easy way to avoid it on turntable.fm. Just click “Room info” and you’ll see a list of recently played songs you’ll want to steer clear of.
– If you’re DJing, don’t keep DJing if you have to step away from your computer for an extended period of time. Give someone else a chance to spin!
– A lot of aspiring musicians and DJs may use turntable to showcase new material. If you’re in this group, don’t play self-recorded songs if it’s of poor quality. (Thanks to TT user RyanTheMagnificent for this suggestion.)
– (Added 7/20) Don’t play songs that are too long, unless everyone in the room (or a majority of it) is OK with it. The other DJs want a chance to spin their tunes, which gets more difficult if everyone plays eight-minute songs!

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Have I missed anything? Do you disagree with something I’ve said? Please feel free to post any additional thoughts you have as comments below!

6 comments

  1. Pingback: What’s Spinning Over at Turntable.fm
  2. Pingback: Music Consumption « The Resilient

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