Tonight at 10PM EST, the virtual DJs at Turntable.fm will be escorted off the stage for the last time. Two and a half years after founders Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein captivated music fans with their highly interactive approach to internet radio, they are shutting the service down to conserve their remaining venture capital and focus on a spinoff. Fans have used Turntable to create 1 million virtual DJ rooms and play more than 400 million songs — but it hasn’t made for much of a business. “The cost of running a music service has been too expensive,” the founders wrote on their blog, “and we can’t outpace it with our efforts to monetize it and cut costs.”
On one level, Turntable is just another dead music service. Unlike some of its peers, Turntable quickly licensed the music it plays, a process that proved difficult and expensive. But Turntable also illustrates how fickle consumers of web services can be. Sometimes apps that strike the world as goofy novelties go on to become big, public companies. Most of the time, they don’t.
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