When Facebook announced its new Listen With Friends feature this week, many wondered what this meant for similar services. The closest one is Turntable.fm, a social media website that allows users to interactively share music by creating virtual rooms which other users can join. Users called DJs choose songs to be played to everyone in that room, while all users are able to talk with one other through a text interface.
Does that sound familiar? Here's how I described Listen With Friends just yesterday:
So, what does new function let you do exactly? Well, you can listen along with any of your friends who are currently listening to music: the same song at the exact same time. You can also listen together in a group, as long as one of your friends is designated the DJ (the person who was listening to music first). Unfortunately, there's a limitation: the DJ can't be changed; if he or she wants to leave, you'll all have to do so as well and rejoin another Facebook Chat session with a new DJ.
When Facebook launches a feature that is comparable to what another company is doing, that firm's representative is often very upset (see Timeline.com's lawsuit). TurnTable.fm's co-founder Billy Chasen (the other co-founder is Seth Goldstein) has reacted a bit differently.
"I'm flattered Facebook was inspired by turntable.fm and created a listen together feature," Chasen said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing how they interpret what social music means as we seem to have different core philosophies about it (such as the importance of discovering new music from strangers and not just friends)."
In other words, Chasen is saying that Facebook is copying TurnTable.fm, but its release is a very basic version. That's okay though: Facebook has a much broader audience to cater to, and the company would rather offer the basics first to all its users and iterate later than to wait until every single feature imaginable is implemented. In short, it looks to me like Listen With Friends will be able to coexist with TurnTable.fm, and Chasen appears to agree.