Silicon Alley is buzzing for tonight’s fashionable tech fete, the runway party to Raise Cache for HackNY. The DJs for tonight’s event will rocking the house via Turntable.fm, which bestowed special avatars on Fred Wilson, Andy Weissman, Dennis Crowley, Dave Goldberg and Lauren Leto.
Betabeat chatted with Turntable.fm co-founder Billy Chasen, who will also be spinning tonight. “To be honest, I’ve never really been a DJ in real life,” Mr. Chasen said. “It’s a little intimidating.”
Online, however, he has no such hang ups. ”When I am DJing on Turntable.fm and a whole room is listening to what I want them to, people pressing the awesome button, that’s just a powerful feeling.”
Turntable.fm is now up to ten employees and streaming as many as 1 million tracks per day, said Mr. Chasen, who spends his work day in techno rooms, but relaxes at home with some indie chill vibes.
The offline success of Turntable.fm has been a pleasant surprise. “It’s great to see an event like Raise Cache doing things in the New York tech scene with our product. We just let this stuff happen organically.” The rapper Wale, for example, is using Turntable.fm as the opening act on his tour, letting his fans in concert and at home DJ the set before his performance.
The next challenge in perfecting the Turntable.fm product is figuring out a better way to get new users involved. “Once Twitter started suggesting people for new users to follow they found engagement jumped way up. We are working on ways to help our new users connect with the DJs they might enjoy following,” Mr. Chasen said.
Like his early projects, Firef.ly and Chartbeat, Turntable.fm is about interacting with a community of web users in real time. “We believe in our bones that music is inherently social, and that a lot of that got lost when you’re just plugged into iTunes with your headphones on. People are reacting to Turntable because they are finding that social element again, even when they are stuck at their computer.”