Put your headphones on. Facebook is out with a new music-sharing feature called "Listen With Friends," in which the social network's 800 million (and counting) users can see what songs their friends are listening to on services like Spotify or Rdio, and even listen along in real time. Many tech junkies are pointing out that this new feature is awfully similar to Turntable.fm, a service that allows users to listen along with friends using cartoonish DJ avatars. Will Facebook topple Turntable?
Turntable is toast: The once-hip listening service is no longer all that cool, says Digital Music News. Turntable was at its most popular last summer, but now, "sinking traffic" suggests that it was "just another fad." Meanwhile, Facebook's "Listen With Friends" feature sounds like a lot of fun, letting friends create a virtual room where they can listen to music together and chat about what they're hearing. Facebook's new feature is simply "cementing" Turntable's fate.
"Turntable.fm has a fierce new competitor: Facebook"
Turntable is still cooler than Facebook: "Are we really to think that Turntable, and its investors, didn't anticipate that Facebook would go down this path?" asks Jennifer Van Grove at VentureBeat. And while the gigantic social network has all the right tools to bring social listening to the masses, Turntable still has a niche cool factor that mainstream Facebook can't replicate. It's like Facebook and Instagram: "Facebook does photosharing, but Instagram does it better."
"Why Facebook’s 'Listen With Friends' feature isn't a threat to Turntable"
Regardless, Turntable must evolve: Turntable's not dead yet, says Josh Constine at TechCrunch. Remember, Facebook only lets you listen with friends — who may have music tastes annoyingly similar to your own — while Turntable lets you explore strangers' picks. But for Turntable to come out on top, it'll have to add more features. It can start by "improving how users browse," and categorizing listening rooms "by genre or mood." If Turntable's creators hope to compete with Facebook, they'll have to build their service into a true music discovery "destination."
"Turntable.fm founder says he's flattered by Facebook Listen With, but they're different"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- California's epic drought
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
Subscribe to the Week