Betabeat was just starting to get a taste for anime soundtracks and neu rave when the news came down that Turntable.fm will be blocking international users. It’s an unfortunate setback for a start-up that already has investors questioning the legal troubles associated with its music rights.
Co-founder Billy Chasen sent out the tweet on Saturday. It’s nothing to be ashamed of really. Pandora has blocked international users for years, and Spotify, the biggest streaming music service in Europe, still hasn’t officially arrived in the U.S.. For a glass half full type, this might be a sign the start-up is rolling with the big boys.
The problem, as always, is that labels and publishers prefer to pursue an aggressive legal strategy and protect their shrinking revenues rather than learn from innovative music apps and build new business models.
As Om Malik points out, Turntable.fm is already becoming a platform for artists to sell music. His example features an independent musician, but the opportunity clearly exists for major artists to tease or premiere tracks that can only be played on Turntable.fm when purchased through a special offer.
In the meantime international users are resorting to well-worn tactics like proxy servers. Nobody has created an single site interface for border jumpers yet, as they did with Pandora, but considering the numbers of hacks popping up on Turntable.fm and the large Japanese audience that frequented the site before this shutdown, expect a some workarounds to start appearing in the next few days.