Earlier this year, Turntable.fm's founder Billy Chasen dusted off the old site and resurrected it for the pandemic age. I know I wasn’t the only one feeling a wistful pang of nostalgia for the service during the long, dull days of sheltering in place. And while March 2020 would have been the best time for a relaunch, March 2021 was pretty good, too.
Today Chasen announced that the service has received a nice little slice of VC backing to help the service (which has thus far been invite/password only) take the next step. Andreessen Horowitz led the $7.5 million round a decade after the site’s original launch. Funding had thus far been limited to fans through services like Patreon and Venmo. He notes that he will be turning off the service's Patreon.
Chasen is staying mum as far as where the funding will go, stating, “And now with the new fundraising, we can continue to innovate and truly explore the cross section of social + music. I have a lot of ideas for the space and I’m excited to start building them.”
Though, a blog post does note that the company is hiring engineers and designers. Understandable, though as someone who’s been enjoying the site these last few months, I’m actually pretty surprised at how fresh the whole thing feels.
The team found a clever loophole around music rights in the form of YouTube videos, but perhaps a future version of the service will involve more direct music licensing or ties to popular apps like Spotify. A mobile app would be nice, if I'm just spitballing here.
Turntable.fm initially shut down back in 2013, stating at the time, “It was a tough decision to make because we love this community so much, but the cost of running a music service has been too expensive and we can’t outpace it with our efforts to monetize it and cut costs." The service added that it was focusing on a live events platform instead.
Notably, Turntable.fm is not the only Turntable service looking to relaunch in 2021. There’s also Turntable.org (confusingly located at TT.fm), which is seeking fan funding, as well as looking toward a subscription fee. It announced that it had raised $500,000 in March and was aiming for an April launch for a mobile and desktop version. The site currently reads, “We’re building a new version just as much fun as the original.”
The two Turntables are not affiliated.