Good news for all you Turntable fiends. One of the most requested features for the social music app — an iPhone version – launched Tuesday in the App Store.
Yes, that’s right: you can now listen, rack up those DJ points and chat from anywhere you happen to have your iPhone (though if you happen to be on the john, as one of my fellow DJs told me today, it’s probably best not to share.)
If you’re not familiar with Turntable — well, first of all, where have you been? Mashable has been rocking its own Turntable room with stellar guest DJs every Friday this summer, and we’ll be picking it up again this fall.
Secondly, Turntable.fm is easily the most addictive (and social) music service ever. In each room, avatars stand in front of a DJ booth, where five lucky souls can step up and spin tunes in turn (one from each, then back to the first DJ). Most songs you can think of are in the Turntable database already, but if not, you can upload them. You can hit “lame” or “awesome” on the like-o-meter; enough “lame”s and the song will skip, but an “awesome” will make you bob your head and give the DJ points, which they can then trade in for a bigger and cooler avatar. And all the while, folks in the room are nattering away in a chat window, proving once again that the best way to be social with strangers is to have something specific — like a song — to talk about.
That’s the browser version of Turntable. How does the iPhone version stack up so far? Good in some ways, quite buggy in others.
Visually, the Stickybits team has done a great job of packing everything in to the small screen. It actually seems easier on the iPhone to scroll down the list of rooms people have created (the list loads as you scroll). Step into a room, and it looks exactly like a Turntable room should. Even packed with avatars, it’s not significantly slower. My iPhone 3GS was able to render a 200-avatar room with no problem; the music didn’t skip and the head-bobbing was smooth.
The first difference you’ll notice is that the chat window is on a screen of its own, reached through that speech bubble icon at the top. This is also where your queue of songs to DJ is located. This is a little distracting, having to switch screens constantly. But it’s hard to think how else the app could have done it. One thing it definitely could have done, though, was load the chat history of the room — so you can see what people were talking about before you came in.
As for DJing, I’ve run into a number of snags so far. The first time I tried to spin, the app booted me off when it came to my tune. (Anecdotally, I heard a few stories of iPhone DJs getting booted; it’s easy to tell, because the avatar is holding a phone instead of a laptop). The second time, nobody could hear the music — despite it being a track I’d played successfully many times in the web client.
Still, you’ve got to expect a few bugs in a release version of an iPhone app this complex, and I have no doubt Turntable will iron out the wrinkles shortly. With a $7 million round of funding led by Union Square Ventures, also announced Tuesday, the company now has a lot more resources. We can’t wait to try the (as yet unannounced) Android and iPad versions.