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Summary:

For fans of streamed music, another choice has arrived on the iPhone. Turntable.fm’s official, free iPhone app hit the App Store today. It requires nothing more than your Facebook credentials to get started, and looks to bring the success of the desktop version to Apple devices.

turntable-feature

For fans of streamed music, another choice has arrived on the iPhone. Turntable.fm’s official, free iPhone app hit the App Store Tuesday, and the company also received a significant round of funding. It requires nothing more than your Facebook credentials to get started, unlike other services. We gave it, shall we say, a spin. Note that Turntable.fm’s iPhone app is a mobile port of its popular desktop app.

Like many first versions of iPhone apps, Turntable.fm isn’t without its bugs. Sometimes when you logout of the iPhone app, it requires you to reauthorize via Facebook, something which should normally be required only once. It also crashed several times, and was occasionally laggy or slow to change rooms, and playback sometimes cut out. The more popular the room, the more issues it seems to have.

Once in the app, you navigate between DJ “rooms” that have music already playing, selected by the DJ. Each room has a limit of 200 people and five DJs — just like the website. Leaving rooms wasn’t intuitive (you have to go to the lobby and then click the X on the room). Although the iPhone app has the speaker graphics like the desktop version, you can’t change the volume by clicking on the speaker, but must return to the lobby to change the volume and output.

Chat works just fine on the iPhone (albeit via a separate, dedicated screen), but you can’t add a song to your queue directly by clicking on the song in the DJ room itself. You must manually add it to your queue, which is accessed somewhat confusingly using the chat icon from the main room screen. Your queue is synced between desktop and iPhone versions, however, which is a nice touch. Another nice bonus on the iPhone is that content plays in the background even when you exit the app, although your normal music controls in the app multitasking tray and lock screen don’t affect playback.

Creating a room and DJ’ing are both possible from within the app, but note that you can’t upload any music on the iPhone app. You can only play items already in your queue, or add to them from Turntable.fm’s existing database of tracks. You can still decide whether a song is Awesome or Lame on the iPhone app in order to give the DJ points. A nice visual tweak displays iPhone users with an iPhone in hand at the DJ booth. Over Wi-Fi, navigation was smooth and music started immediately, but over 3G, music suffered from drop-outs, and sometimes, I couldn’t enter rooms.

Overall, I like the idea of Turntable.fm and this app. This seems like a great way to be introduced to new music (as is something like Pandora) without the same music repeating itself (a common problem with Pandora). The app has great promise, but needs a lot of work to overcome its current bugs. As long as issues get resolved in upcoming versions, it should introduce more users to the Turntable.fm services.

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  1. When you click the chat button, on the next screen there’s a button on the right that lights up when you press it. What’s the purpose of it?
    I can’t figure it out.

    1. Me either. It’s not the notifications sound that’s in the web version. Someone tell us what the yellow button does!!

    2. It’s in the FAQ:

      http://turntable.fm/static/faq.html

      How do I DJ?

      If you want to DJ in a room there must be an open spot. This will appear as a yellow bubble that says “Play Music” if you click on that you will move to the stage. The DJs on stage each play a song in order from left to right. When it is your turn to spin the first song on your queue will play. You are now a DJ! If there is not an open spot in a room you will have to wait for one to one up.

      If you are DJing in a room with a theme is it polite to keep to the theme of the room. If a song on your queue comes up that does not fit with the theme you might want to consider skipping it. You can do this by mousing over your avatar and clicking on “skip my song”. When you are ready to quit DJing you just need to mouse over your avatar and click on “Quit DJing”.

      Also, some rooms have organized an informal “DJ queue” that you can ask to have your name put on. Usually the moderator keeps track of who is next in line and enforces the order. This allows everyone to gets a turn to play. If you are unsure if the room you are in has a “DJ queue” it’s good to ask, there are usually some regulars in the room who are happy to fill you in.

    3. From the FAQ:

      http://turntable.fm/static/faq.html#47

      What does that yellow circle mean?

      The yellow button will turn the chat dings on an off.

  2. Not available in the Swiss iTunes Store…. therefore a big THUMBS DOWN !

  3. I’ve looked all over the app, and asked other people. It is not possible to add tracks to your queue in the iOS version of Turntable. If you have found a way, please give very detailed instructions.

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