Have you ever seen a DJ playing a set while walking down the street? I haven’t. But the wonders of modern technology continue to astound us by taking impossible (and maybe even unnecessary) scenarios and translating them to reality. Hence the adaptation of Turntable.fm, the social music service that digitizes DJing, to an iPhone app — the exact scientific breakthrough we need to move forward in the field of mobile party-starting.
We previously reported on Turntable.fm’s funding coup and it seems like part of the cash influx has been directed toward the development of a mobile iteration of the popular social music program. The Turntable.fm app is an extremely faithful rendition of the original web service, bringing iOS users the ability to sit in on user-created setlists or try their hand at entertaining a “room” of critical listeners. Standard Turntable features (like contributing to a user’s DJing rep by voting on whether their performance is “lame” or “awesome” — two vital phrases in any serious critics’ vocabulary) have all been translated to fit into the palm of an Apple-devotee’s hand.
Early users have had good things to say about the app but still continue to mention the same problems that have harmed Turntable in the past. Trouble adapting to immense popularity/server congestion — something that causes slowdown during play — has made its unfortunate way from desktops to handhelds. Coupled with the added hassle of requiring Facebook integration (and, y’know, having to be an American) this problem may be enough to keep many potential users, intrigued by taking Turntable.fm’s premise on the go, from signing up.
The bigger question, really, is about why exactly there needs to be a portable version of Turntable.fm. Probably the most interesting aspect of DJing (quality DJing at least) is the level of careful thought that goes into crafting a setlist of tunes while organically changing up the gameplan based on how a given audience reacts to each new song. Turntable’s basic design supports this wonderfully, compensating for the lack of a room full of physical responses by instead offering up cartoons and a simple, binary-style voting system. Though these same features are present in the app actually doing a good job of DJing is something that is best done with the level of concentration that mobile app play doesn’t always facilitate. While the Turntable.fm app may be nice to have at a house party the format itself doesn’t lend itself to situations like, say, taking the bus or killing time in a waiting room. Whether users are still able to make good sets in a mobile environment or not will have to be determined over time.
Those who aren’t put off by any of this (and not everybody should be — Turntable is, ultimately, pretty nifty) can download the app now to try it out for themselves. The Turntable.fm app is already available through the App Store (for free!) while the original, stationary version of the service can be accessed through the official site (if you’re cool enough to be invited).