Turntable has had quite the ride powered by the initial popularity and potential of Turntable.fm. But Turntable couldn't get the Turntable.fm business model to work. Response to both their leanback music app Piki and their pivot to livestreaming video concerts with Turntable Live was weak. So Founder Billy Chasen has officially announced the closing of Turntable in a revealing post as well as a move away from the music space to focus on Ketchup, a personal network app for private status updates.
Turntable.fm was Turntable's claim to fame. An initial surge in interest and engagement was eventually undermined by changes related to music licensing, such as closing many regions where no deals were in place despite growing international interest.
As Billy Chasen points out in his Turntable postmortem, startups that require music licensing are in a tough spot:
"Ultimately, I didn’t heed the lessons of so many failed music startups. It’s an incredibly expensive venture to pursue and a hard industry to work with. We spent more than a quarter of our cash on lawyers, royalties and services related to supporting music."
"It’s restrictive. We had to shut down our growth because we couldn’t launch internationally. It’s a long road. It took years to get label deals in place and it also took months of engineering time to properly support them (time which could have been spent on product)."
Given that their final product, live video streaming as Turntable Live, shut down in January, Turntable was pretty much over then though Chasen's post includes some of the "painful" details of fully shutting down a startup.
But as a true entrepreneur should, Chasen isn't stopping. In fact, he's not even taking a break:
"The key to all of this is to keep building. No one has any idea what is going to work and what’s not. Don’t listen to the people who think they know. Sure, this one didn’t pan out, but each failure helps us navigate the thousands of decisions we will need to make for the next one. That knowledge helps us build better things that will last longer."
And, on that positive note, Billy Chasen is now at work on Ketchup, a social app for keeping up with what those who are close to you are doing.
- Turntable.fm To Shut Down: $7M and Celebrity Investors No Match For Music Licensors
- Turntable.fm Fights For Survival with Turntable Live Performances
- Turntable.fm Cuts Costs By Ending Track Uploads
- Turntable.fm To Shut Down Piki.fm, New Version Of Turntable Coming In October
- Turntable.fm Tries To Monetize With Turntable Gold, "Under New Management"
- Turntable.fm's Billy Chasen Discusses Piki: Human-Powered Music Discovery App Now On iTunes
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.