Remember Turntable.FM? It would be understandable if you didn't. What became the hottest new digital music happening since the OG original Napster quickly faded away a little over a year ago. For those that missed the party: Turntable FM was an unbelievable cocktail of streaming music service, social media and video games, all rolled in one ... combine the fact that it had a real-time element to it a-la Google hangouts or Skype, and you had an incredible happening.
Real people represented as avatars would take turns being a DJ in a virtual room, or battling each other. Ratings on song choices and the ability to chat in real time brought the gaming and social media aspect. It EXPLODED. Everybody loved it, it was all you could do all day ... hang out on Turntable ... it was like a massive party.
Then it faded. Traffic declined (view the big data here) as people grew tired of the experience, and what seemed like the biggest thing ever in the digital music world became a forgotten name. Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News comments on it by saying "But wait: are we quitting on Rocky too soon? Despite depressingly-deep traffic drops with scant signs of recovery, executives insist that there's an overhaul in the works. And just last month, the company supersized its listening rooms to accommodate more than 200 avatars at a time. That was a small taste of things to come. Because the biggest part of this pivoted programming approach is just getting started. Say hello to Piki (piki.fm), a total revamp that imitates Pandora but uses content from other Turntable.fm friends."
Now the Turntable FM founders have done a (sorry for this word) PIVOT to both rebrand and redefine the streaming music service, and it's called Piki, a (once again) cocktail of social media and streaming music. This time they're looking to influences like Pandora and Twitter, and combining them. It's worth mentioning that Turntable.FM still exists, and has current users, but the people who started it have moved onto another venture, so that should tell us all how Turntable is working out for them.
According to the "launch" article in TechCrunch, Piki is "a Pandora-like, human-powered radio app combined with powerful Twitter-inspired social features," and "unlike competitors 8tracks or Songza, it has borrowed one of the most powerful features of Pandora. You just start the app and press play without having to search, browse, or select your mood. The stream goes through songs hand-picked by your friends and offers the option to select a particular genre."
I've just signed up for the invite-only beta (just like they did with Turntable.FM), so I'll come back later with more on the experience when (or if) I get in.
UPDATE: To those that are taking the headline too literally, I offer this ... "Bye Bye Turntable.FM" doesn't mean that they're shutting it down, it means that the people behind Turntable had a choice to fix up declining growth in the service, or move forward with something new. The fact that they've launched a new service / site speaks volumes about their decision-making.
They don't have to close down the old to move on with the new, it's completely possible that Turntable.FM stays online and serves the current site community while they push Piki as a new service. This is is often what we see as a pivot these days ... it's not a clean break, it's just new layers added on while the old ones get neglected. That's what "bye-bye" means. Until we see new offerings from Turntable appear, there's no action being done. I'm hoping to be wrong about this, and if updgrades happen, good for Turntable.