Turntable.fm just released its iPhone app earlier this month and Eliot Van Buskirk, Editor-in-Chief of Evolver.fm, weighs in. His final word on the app: it's good--but not just in terms of sound quality. As he points out to me, we've finally bridged the gap between music technology and social media.
Outside of a live performance, it used to be that music-listening was a purely personal thing, he explains. You would snap on your headphones and enjoy your music in complete and utter isolation. But Turntable.fm's app turns music listening into a shared experience.
"'Social' is such a buzz word that I almost hate to use it anymore but this really is social media. Somebody is choosing music with their human brain and a bunch of people are hearing it at the same time and chatting about it and rating it," Eliot gushes.
So where does that leave Pandora? As services like Spotify, Turntable.fm, and Rhapsody grow in popularity, will Pandora be able to maintain its position as the digital music ruler?
"They're so good at what they do. I use Pandora a lot," says Eliot. "But there are other radio services with far bigger catalogs than Pandora...My experience with Pandora is that I love it and it's great, but once I've had the same artist station for about a month, I start hearing the same stuff over again, so my approach is to keep thinking of new artists to make new stations. But for most people, the initial experience with Pandora is so good--before you encounter that repetition--that I think they'll continue to do pretty well."
Eliot Van Buskirk has covered digital music for Wired, CNET, and makes regular appearances on NPR. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Evolver.fm, an online publication for all things music app-related.