Turntable.fm is latest Internet music startup


Is it a challenger to radio stations or to Pandora…or to both? Turntable.fm announced that it has secured $7 million in new equity investments to fund its growth.

What makes Turntable.fm different from streaming music services like Pandora – and Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, for that matter – is that it incorporates social media with music Users get to play DJ, but they have to face voting on their song selections from others who visit their music-sharing rooms.

The latest round of funding was led by Union Square Ventures and Fred Wilson is joining the turntable board.  Other investors include First Round Capital, Polaris, Lowercase Capital, and Benchmark.  In addition, said CEO Billy Chasen (“Chilly” if you encounter him on the service), a small group of industry angels also participated, including Troy Carter, Tim Kendall, Guy Oseary, Vivi Nevo “and a few others that we can’t name just yet.”

In the past three months of operation Turntable has signed up 600,000 users. The company just released its first iPhone app, at least in beta form.

“Our beta is now open to anyone in the United States.  We haven’t forgotten about everyone else outside of the US and are still working hard to open up as quickly as we can,” the CEO wrote on the company blog.

Turntable is currently restricted to the US, where it operates under the mandatory performance rights license and pays royalties to the labels and artists via SoundExchange. It is negotiating with the record companies on terms to operate in other countries.

RBR-TVBR observation: What’s clear is that there are different ways to play the Internet music service game. Only time will tell which ones are long-term hits with consumers and, importantly, are able to generate enough revenues to stay in business.