One of the best engines for growth at a web startup is a core group of power users who evangelize for the service—not because it will increase their Klout score or possibly win them a free iPad 2, but out of a love for the community being created online.
Turntable.fm experienced big growth during its first months after launching this summer and rode that wave to a nice round of funding. But their traffic seems to have dipped recently, indicating they are on the trough of the Gartner hype cycle.
The path forward is slow—organic growth, not driven by media hype or celebrity sign ups. And the Inaugural Mashtival, a mashup festival happening on Turntable this week, seems like a good example of passionate users who will help the site grow.
Nicolas Gutierrez and Aaron Ho met while spinning mashups on Turntable. They have never met in the real world and in fact are from two different continents (ssshhhh, Turntable is supposed to be U.S. only), but they found themselves thrust into the role of club promoters.
They tended to the music, the conversation and the DJ queue. Soon, high profile mashup artists began reaching out to them, and they used the space to highlight new tracks and help emerging names get their names out. “We have had the like of 3LAU, Kap Slap, Basic Physics, Yoni, DJ Trademark, and DJ DiBella come In and play their music,” Mr. Gutierrez told Betabeat over Skype.
The festival will take place this Wednesday across three rooms: Mashup 1, 2 and the VIP, which is reserved for artists. “This whole thing kind of snowballed. Each room functions as a ‘stage’ and each stage will have certain artists playing on the decks,” said Mr. Gutierrez.
As a online hotbed for mashup music lovers, the boys have also created a sort of laboratory for testing new material. “Ya, a lot of the time an artist will be halfway done with a song and will come in just come in to preview it and get feedback. I have seen some people totally love the song as is and the artist doesn’t change much. I have also seen a song totally be put on the back burner as the feedback wasn’t that good.”