Apr 2, 2012
Turntable.fm is a great, cute way to learn about new music and chat at the same time. I’ve been on it since July 2011 and it’s connected me to so many awesome music-lovers. My main room is “Orange Bear Party Indie” (OBPI), and we’re mostly all connected via multiple social networks. We even share music via DropBox, and have video chats via Google+ from time to time. Plus, I dated one of them for a while! Now I’ll tell you a little story about how Turntable.fm led me to be part of a SXSW showcase…
Around the beginning of March, I found myself in the “Intel DJ Battle” room after the actual battle was over, just chatting with random people (and a few friends) about SXSW and how I lived in Austin. Then a little window popped up. It was a private message from the user BeatZada, who is Ali Danali, the founder/programmer of BigShot DJ.
He asked me to fill an empty spot in his LIVE Turntable.fm DJ Battle, which promoted his product. It would be like a regular Turntable.fm battle, but also LIVE on stage using real laptops (as opposed to cartoon ones) during SXSW on March 14th. I was so happy, but had to break it to him that I didn’t have a wristband or badge this year. He said that didn’t matter because I would get a free Artist Wristband!
I was pretty stunned, and had no idea how to feel about it. I know that Turntable.fm DJ Battles are based on voting. The DJ who receives the most “Awesomes” wins, so I was sure to tweet about it immediately.
The next day, I saw that Ali emailed all of us. Being the curious kitty that I am, I decided to Google them to see who I was up against. Then my heart SANK when I found out they were all real, legitimate DJs! The kind that actually spin records, and/or digitally mix tracks!! I was FLOORED! I could not stop crying. How embarrassing! How horrifying! I had no idea I was going to be some random nobody among actual talent! I finally contacted Ali and told him I had to bow out.
But he wouldn’t let me!
He said he believed in me, that I had good music taste, and I would be representing the average Turntable.fm user. So after much deliberation (and trust me, I tried really hard to back out), I eventually decided to embrace it. How embarrassing could losing to real DJs actually be? A friend assured me that the worst it could be was 2 hours of embarrassment, and the whole rest of SXSW to enjoy with a free wristband!
So I delved in. I made a Facebook Event and invited about 200 of my friends and family. I put the URL to the battle room in it and explained that all they’d have to do is hit “Awesome” when my tracks played. I also tweeted the event in case I missed anyone. Meanwhile, I researched lots of fun mashups to play and built my “artillery”. An OBPI friend even sent me a headband she modified with “Orange Bear” ears/antennae just like the Turntable.fm avatar!
T-minus 24hrs til the battle, I stood in a line which I never thought I’d find myself: The Artist Check-in line! So surreal. I wasn’t even planning on having a badge or wristband this year, and this just fell into my lap. Or onto my wrist, rather.
The next day, I put on my favorite sun dress and Orange Bear ears, grabbed my laptop, and went down to the Austin Convention Center to meet my doom in Ballroom G. At least by this point, I was OKAY with meeting my doom. I could definitely withstand 2hrs of doom and 4 more days of SXSW magic!
My opponents and I lined up on a long table on the stage with our laptops, while stage-hands below plugged things in for us. From left to right, the DJs were Johnny Monsoon, Johnny Bravvo, The Jane Doze, MandaPop, and DJ Fndmntl. There was a huge screen stage-right, which showed a projection of the fully packed online battle room. The Jane Doze were two beautiful NYC babes, one in a sweater and one in a leather jacket (all bundled up for the brisk Texas weather). They have a strong online following, which they summoned with a single tweet.
Ballroom G had maybe fifty people scattered all around. Maybe less. Very calm people, sitting in chairs, looking at their phones. Hardly bobbing their heads to the powerfully loud music that was blasting. But the online room was packed with bobbing avatar heads and plenty of chatter! I was amazed by how many people showed up for little ol’ me! It felt like an elementary recital where I dressed as some sort of musical bear! Speckled in the crowd were long-time friends, high school friends, co-workers, my MOM, people I’d JUST MET, and friends who were out at SXSW on their iPhones! It was really something special for me.
My opponents chose to upload their own original mixes, rather than existing tracks in the Turntable.fm database. Johnny Monsoon was up against The Jane Doze first. The girls kept saying, “Antlers up!” to their fans (like how Lady Gaga says, “Paws up!” to her fans/”monsters”). Needless to say, The Jane Doze won the first round. Then it was Johnny Bravvo against me. We battled, and to my delight, I won the second round!
Honestly, just looking at the chatroom, it was mostly The Jane Doze or MandaPop fans. I was beginning to wonder if the other DJs even told anyone they were in a battle… Were they just hoping their fr3sh skillz would help them in a votes-based contest? I’m pretty sure a few of them were completely new to Turntable.fm and had no idea how to use it. They seemed to treat the event as if it were any other “gig”.
DJ Fndmntl was up against the first round’s winner, The Jane Doze. And OHH surprise, the girls won again. Great. So since I won the second round, I had to go against The freakin’ Jane Doze. *Sigh* They “antlers-upped” and played their fun mashups. I played fun mashups, too, but my fans were no match to their fans. So The Jane Doze were the BigShot DJ winners.
But ya know what that meant? I WON SECOND PLACE! :) I was so sure I’d fail miserably, and I completely surprised myself! Sure, it may have just been dumb luck that the others were bad at rounding up people, but so what? I was really proud, and I learned a lot about myself from all this.
Thanks to all who supported me, consoled me during my freak-outs, and sent good vibes in lieu of absence! I’m very happy with how it all turned out. Pon de Floor, Anyway.
Current Mood: Excited