The Turntable wars were one of the more fascinating stories to emerge in 2021 startup land (though I suspect those involved might dispute the matter). After years away, the beloved but bygone collaborative music streaming service returned for a population that had been stuck inside for a year thanks to a global pandemic.
Things got really interesting, however, when a second claimant to the Turntable thrown emerged. There was Turntable.fm, resurrected from the original service by founder Billy Chasen, joined by “Turntable” or “Turntable.org,” which could be found at tt.fm (they were both technically just “Turntable,” but we were using “Turntable.fm” and “tt.fm” in a bid to avoid confusion). That was founded by early Turntable.fm employee Joseph Perla. Whether Perla also deserved the co-founder title is a matter strongly contested by Chasen, however.
A few months after Turntable.fm’s relaunch, Chasen announced that the service had raised $7.5 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz, adding to a war chest that had thus far been the product of fundraising through services like Patreon and Venmo. The following month, tt.fm launched as a beta app.
That service has since rebranded as Turntable LIVE (all caps is their style, but honestly not the worst idea, all things considered), along with the new URL, turntablelive.com (“Turntable Live,” incidentally, was also the name of a Turntable.fm pivot). This week, the company announced its own seed round just north of $7 million, led by Founders Fund and f7 Ventures. The news also finds a trio of advisors joining up, including Julia Tang (ex-Discord, Instagram), George Howard (Tune Core) and Jonathan Hull (ex-Facebook).
A release tied to the news is not pulling any punches: “Created by Joseph Perla, Turntable LIVE has become what Perla laid out more than a decade ago. If the name sounds familiar, you may be remembering an old, legacy Turntable, which crumbled under co-founder disagreements and did not launch with global music licenses or a mobile app. TurntableLive.com is an all-new company that is doing things right.”
A completely normal paragraph in a press release about a funding round.
Turntable.fm is still very much online, though the company’s been quiet on the social front. A few months back, the team launched “Sup,” a free app that describes its function as follows: “Record and share audio clips that play on your friends phone, even when their screen is locked. Conversation is more than text. Speak, be heard, say it out loud.”
It’s clear based on the above names that Turntable LIVE’s approach is leaning far in the social direction. “We’ve created Turntable LIVE with a positive-sum approach in mind,” Perla says in a release. “People need joyful, meaningful social experiences online: music can facilitate that. And music needs more and more compelling ways to reach people and bring them together. Turntable LIVE accomplishes both, as one of the first truly participatory places online for music enjoyment and real-time social interaction.”
The service is still in a waitlisted, invite-only beta, with a public version set for launch later this year. You can signup by entering your number here.