Turntable.fm inks licensing deals with all four major record labels

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Digital music service Turntable.fm has completed licensing deals with all four major record labels, vaulting the startup out of legal limbo and setting the stage for international expansion.

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Turntable.fm enables users to share music in virtual "rooms" populated by their friends and other listeners

Turntable.fm--currently available across several platforms including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS--enables users to share music in virtual "rooms" populated by their friends and other listeners; each DJ takes a turn playing a song, and everyone in the room gets a vote on the track's quality, complete with comment functionality. Songs that receive too many negative votes are skipped, while DJs who spin popular tracks can earn points and build fan followings. Users have created more than 130 Turntable.fm streams over the last nine months.

In the absence of label licensing deals, Turntable.fm obtained its music through a third-party and operated under a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act granting flexibility to "non-interactive" streams and channels that deliver music programmed by someone other than the listener. The Turntable.fm model skirted the limits of the rule by incorporating DJ selections.

Partnering with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music resolve questions about the service's legality, Turntable.fm chairman Seth Goldstein told The New York Times. "Basically this means we're legitimate," Goldstein said. "There are no eggshells, no wondering whether or not what we're doing is viable as it relates to rights holders." The deals also allow Turntable.fm to move outside its native U.S. market and collaborate with labels and artists on marketing efforts. Goldstein added that the company is also at work to close similar agreements with music publishers.

Turntable.fm released version 2.1 of its iPhone application late last month. The update adds direct integration with Apple's iTunes, enabling consumers to purchase songs they discover through the app--a potentially significant revenue stream for Turntable.fm moving forward.

For more:
- read this New York Times article

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