A complete ripoff of Turntable.fm called Rolling.fm has emerged that would make Chinese copycats proud. Because the firm has the distinction of being founded by one Tim Zhou, who used to work at Google, the tech press has gone gaga for it. Gaga, meanwhile, has apparently chosen to put her funds into the original.
“Hot on the heels of Turntable.fm’s big reported round of funding comes Rolling.fm, a clone that does just about everything the original service does. Will it achieve the same popularity? Who knows, but we’re impressed that someone has already launched such a complete knock-off of the Turntable.fm concept,” writes a breathless Eliot Van Buskirk, a former Wired writer who left for music start-up Evolver.fm but continues to contribute pieces of reportage.
Rolling.fm has added a couple interesting features, like a list of everyone present in the room and a way to have private chats with other users. “Should Zhou and company be ashamed? Who cares? The world needs all the neat ways to listen to music it can get, from where we’re standing,” writes Buskirk. “It’s also a case of “different strokes for different folks.”
By way of example, Buskirk points out the music on Evolver seems less clubby and indie. Betabeat, who spent the day listening to rare funk and early ska on Turntable.fm, felt the need to interject. Actually, there are better things a smart software engineer can do with his time and money than build a complete rip-off of a service that is less than three months old. As a ploy to get acqui-hired by Facebook for its secret Vibes project, this is pretty clever. But in terms of its contribution to the start-up ecosystem, music or otherwise, its a bad precedent and a poor example.