Turntable fights the good fight for innovation
Well, that didn’t take long. Recently, music nerds have been in rhapsodies about Turntable.fm, a site which combined music streams, social networking and chat.
You went to the site, chose one of the site’s rooms and listened to music chosen by one of the five DJs taking turns to spin some tunes. Geeks, techies, designers and DJs spread the word and the buzz was beginning to grow.
This week, though, users outside the United States found themselves locked out of the site due to “licensing constraints”. US fans could still rate tunes as “awesome” or “lame”, but non-Yanks had to take a hike. The site has promised to bring international users back into the loop, though this may take some time.
Many have wondered just how the site is getting away with streaming music without licences or permissions from labels or acts. Turntable itself claims to be a non-interactive radio service and, as such, comes under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, though some major label with a fine battalion of legal eagles may well decide to challenge that.
But what Turntable shows is that any innovation in the music sphere is going to come from the tech side of the house. New ideas are not going to hang around until the legal departments have signed off on everything. Instead, as in the case of Turntable, those ideas are just going to be rolled out.
The problem for the music industry is that it has become too accustomed to acting in a protectionist manner, rather than being pro-active. Now more than ever, a service such as Turntable should be encouraged rather than run out of town.