Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PlugDJ, Turntable, and why I DON'T like this format for streaming internet music

I've been messing with two Internet music streaming sites recently, PlugDJ and, and after testing these out for a while have determined that it's not just that I don't like these sites, but rather, I don't like the format of community DJ'ing of music like this.  Here's a list in no real order of things that bothered me about this format of listening to music, and why I'll stick with LastFm and Spotify (I work in tech all day and listen to roughly 8-9 hours a day of streaming music to help me concentrate, so I spend an INSANE amount of time evaluating new sites like this).  Here are some thoughts:

Community radio means that you periodically have to listen to garbage
And it's not just about listening to garbage, but it's about that fact that unlike LastFm and Pandora, you can't skip tracks.  Sure, you can give it a "Meh" rating, but you can't skip it.  So you either have to mute the song or just take off your headset and go get more coffee, vs. LastFm where you just ban the track and instantly skip it.  Problem solved.

Sure, there was plenty of good, new music in some of these DJ rooms, but plenty that was awful again, including someone including this (presumably as a joke - they were shortly after booted from the room...)


Limited number of rooms and/or available DJ spots
Going through the lobby, there were a limited number of stations I was interested in listening to, and if there was some genre I'd want to join, there's no open DJ spots.  Which is fine if all you want to do is listen to music, but if that's the case, why wouldn't I just go to LastFm where I can at least skip the songs I don't like?

Profanity in room titles and music/video selection (and no way to filter it)
If people want to listen to expletive-laden rap music, whatever, but I don't, and I'd prefer to have some filter system that can cut out garbage like that.  Same with language used in the chat or in the room titles.  Whatever, I'm old fashioned, but I just want the music and the titles without a bunch of !@#$% describing the name of the room.

Strange abuses of the system
I've also been in some rooms where if you DJ and for some reason play music that is slightly askew of what the others are playing (and I'm not talking about the sax guy, but just somehow slightly off of what the bulk of other music is) you get booted from the room for an hour without a warning.  What on earth...?
Even stranger is that I've found some rooms where if you vote DOWN certain songs, you get booted from the stage (with no clear answer as to why - no dialog in the chats or anything.)  This alone is frustrating enough in that, if I don't want to DJ, the other option is just to enter a room and just listen to music, that I can't skip, so instead of that, just give me a service like LastFm where I have the freedom to skip songs!

Buggy systems
Here are some of the bugs I've noticed with both of these.  turntableFM frequently would just link to a dead, black room, and no amount of refreshing would do anything to make the room load.  Backing out and picking a different room would frequently do the same thing.
PlugDJ fared a little better, but would really be a massive drain of system resource, being someone who's not using a top of the line computer.  Other tabs would completely freeze, and it actually managed to kill my Internet connection(!).  Beyond just that, videos would freeze and frequently need to be refreshed.

Final thoughts:
Both of these sites offer an interesting alternative to the standard streaming music, but the negatives outweigh the positives for me.  If there was some sort of skipping/banning option, maybe this would have potential, but I suppose that the nature of a DJ program would be that you have to just sit and listen to whatever is broadcast, even if it's a 1:00 clip of 'My Little Ponies' singing.  I'll stick with LastFm.

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