We’ve known for awhile now that once-hot group listening service Turntable.fm was in need of a pivot. Mostly because the service is a bit of a novelty. After it’s initial hype died down, Turntable’s base of regular users shrunk, making its plans to monetize less rosy.
It’s obvious at this point that group listening won’t be the next Pandora. But that hasn’t deterred new competitor Plug.dj, which aims to avoid the same issues as Turntable with a few key differences:
Plug.dj runs off of YouTube and Soundcloud, meaning it doesn’t pay record labels to license music, being immediately available everywhere in the world YouTube can be accessed.
Because of that, Plug.dj has been able to attract plenty of big names and sponsors. For example, the site has had sponsored listening room deals with Budweiser, Big Fish Recording, Bud 66, NME.com, and BBC Radio 1 in the UK.
Most surprising is that, despite Turntable’s heftier size, Plug.dj is the one attracting the money. To be fair to Turntable, the company has been heads-down on a pivot to a more Pandora-esque service, as it shared with Inc., and hasn’t necessarily been focusing on the branding and marketing surrounding the existing Turntable experience.
For Plug.dj though, the success is partly because Plug.dj has a much wider group of people that can use it because it is available worldwide. But it’s also likely because Plug.dj’s growth has been slow-and-steady, while Turntable’s resembled more of a boom-and-bust.
The company shared its numbers with PandoDaily, and while it’s a not a top ten website, that may be a good thing. For June, the site has seen 40,000 unique visitors, and then in July, it grew to 76,000. The service also has 113,000 registered users, who have played 37.2 million tracks inside of Plug.dj.
But aside from the growth is also the evidence that people are coming to the site more frequently. The number of total visits has nearly doubled in the last month, and at the same, the time on site is steadily increasing.
This growth, while not explosive like Turntable’s early growth, could actually be a good thing for the service. There is something to be said about the psychological factor of visiting a site when it’s packed, and then visiting after everyone has started to leave. This is especially true of a group listening service which very openly shows the number of people that are online at the same time.
Of course, just because Plug.dj is going the opposite path of Turntable’s initial growth strategy doesn’t necessarily mean it will succeed. But the non-explosive growth could end up being the site’s biggest asset.