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September 9, 2011

2 > Pandora > > Online Radio is…

  • The fastest growing music service you’re not using
  • MMLOA (Massively Multi-Listening Online Audience)
  • Your new music discovery crack
  • Hockey stickin’: 0 to 140,000 users in their first month
  • Napster, reborn again
  • The first web service that gives me the sense of physically hanging out with friends while online Compete Traffic

TurnTable has many exciting revenue opportunities:

  • Visual and audio ads – Just like Pandora’s audio ads between songs and advertising wraps on their website and mobile
  • Premium subscriptions – Just like Pandora One ($36/year) – unlimited listening, no ads, higher quality audio, etc.
  • Affiliate commissions & lead gen – Shazam pushes $100MM+ in purchases towards iTunes each year.  Turntable could blow that away.
  • Virtual goods/avatars – If Zynga can make millions selling virtual corn in FarmVille, TurnTable can too.
  • Social DJing software – Could be sold to clubs and party hosts.  Allow your customers or guests to spin their own tracks via their mobile phones.
  • Virtual currency – Allow listeners to spend this currency within the TurnTable world.  Avatars, virtual concert tickets, more DJ plays, customized rooms, more points, less ads, etc.
  • Promoted songs – Like how StumbleUpon sneaks in paid websites as you “stumble” across the internet, TurnTable could push certain songs/artists to listeners throughout various rooms
  • Let DJs sell their original creations – Sometimes I come across amazing home brewed remixes and original creations uploaded on YouTube.  These small time artists/DJs have a tough time selling their creations primarily due to a lack of a distribution platform. could become that.  TurnTable could let the DJs sell their original music on (while taking a cut).  I’m not considering any complexities due to copyrights (think Girl Talk and his copyright ownership issues he has with his songs – which are basically a bunch of copyrighted songs mashed together).
  • Sponsored Rooms – Nascar makes a killing off companies sponsoring drivers and cars.  Sports stadiums sell the name of their venue to the highest bidder.  Why can’t we have Red Bull Rock Radio?  DJ Wooooo’s Dance Dance Revolution?
  • Selling data and music trends based on user demographics – User, usage, and trend data = $$$
  • Paid Rooms / Concerts – Artists & DJs could buy accounts and rooms, similar to the Pro version of uStream.

    Talib Kweli could host live concerts with other artists in one giant, online, virtual stadium: Concert

Downsides to right now:

  • There’s an initial 5-10 minute “learning curve”
  • Interaction is practically forced/required, you essentially need to babysit it all day
  • Sometimes it’s hard to find a room where I like the type of music being played – maybe they can setup preset rooms/channels like SiriusXM radio has channels 1-240.  Top 40 Hits = Channel 1, ’90s Pop Hits = Channel 9, etc.


How TurnTable can fix their “problem”

Allow listeners to select from 1 of 2 options:

  • Synchronous listening (TurnTable’s current version today)
  • Asynchronous listening

An asynchronous version of TurnTable would simply require tuning into a specific listening channel, kicking back, and listening:

  • Cut out all the gamification and real-time-ness of it all.  No head bops, no chat, no points, etc.  Simply choose a channel and you’re presented with a play and pause button (maybe some lightweight features such as “Faving” and thumbing up and down, but that’s it.  Much simpler.)
  • Eliminates the “learning curve” and confusion
  • Eliminates the urge to babysit it all day
  • Still keeps the uniqueness of real DJs and crowdsourcing of song selection

Song Selection

  • TurnTable = Crowdsourced
  • Pandora = Algorithm based, heavily programmed towards your own music taste (The Pandora Music Genome Project)
  • = Algorithm based,  heavily programmed towards basic artist linking (e.g. same genre, similar year)
  • Online Radio = One radio station DJ selects and pushes songs out to listeners.  Zero customization.  Often mainstream and not very unique. Going iPhone

Pandora used to be the only mobile radio I would listen to.  Sometimes I’d launch when I ran over my 40 free hours per month on Pandora.  But now I’m dying for the mobile app to be released at TechCrunch Disrupt.  I’m ready to use as my one and only radio app.  TechCrunch just scooped themselves with the TurnTable iPhone app news:
“Hey TechCrunch — you scooped yourselves. We were saving this as a surprise for TC Disrupt when I’m on stage :)”
– Billy Chasen (CEO & Co-Founder, Going iPad

I’ve seen glimpses of the iPad app – very exciting!! (Did I just triple scoop TechCrunch??) 🙂 iPad App

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PS – Remember my post about ideas?  Yeah well, an idea isn’t worth much without awesome execution. was made 1-2 years before TurnTable, yet TurnTable is absolutely destroying them.  Why?  TurnTable executed brilliantly and built a mother-loving awesome product that users are compelled to share (super slick and fun UI/UX, visible progress rewards, motivating emotion, social call to action, user re-engagement, etc.)
MixApp Screenshot
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 9 2011


    awesome post! Being a user of myself, i absolutely agree with your points on the slick UI/UX and the addiction that comes with hanging out with friends and playing music together and even sing (aka type) along with a song.

    For about a month now, I have not touched my Pandora account, unless I am really looking for my old channels of popular artists such as John Mayer or Jason Mraz, where I can expect those songs to be played.

    The one up and down side of Turntable is the unpredictability. It is nice not have to choose every single song you listen to over the course of the day, every day, but at the same time, you don’t know whether the next songs are something that you would want to listen to. There is also no ability to skip a song (like on Pandora) unless absolutely everybody in the room feels the same way (unlikely especially if crowded).

    I love your ideas on possible revenue streams for TT.FM, and the idea of virtual concerts is genius, as the social network could totally spur the awareness of a concert and drive traffic in real-time. I think the concept is very forward-looking and quite different from what it is today, but very realistic in my opinion.

    Also, I never heard of MixApp. I cannot even find their website (only their blog).

    Keep the blogs coming!

  2. Sep 12 2011

    All great points. Especially interesting are the various revenue generating ideas you shared. I agree that there is a need to “babysit” your music selections while on turntable, but I think that’s the draw to it in the first place – the true socialization of it all. When I need great tunes without taking up my undivided attention, I’m on Pandora (although it tends to play the same 30 songs for me). Otherwise I’m a Turntable superfan!


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