Turntable.fm licensed by ASCAP

Deal is first for fast-growing social music site

Fast-growing social-media music site Turntable.fm has signed a licensing deal with performing rights org ASCAP, the group announced Wednesday.

The site, launched in May by Stickybits founders Seth Goldstein and Billy Chasen, allows users to select and play songs via a cartoon DJ avatar in various themed music “rooms.” Other users can join in as DJs to compete (up to five in a room) or listen in and vote DJs up or down. Using a videogame-like model, popular users can amass points to unlock new avatars, culminating in one modeled after French house music icons Daft Punk.

Still available in invitation-only beta form, the site has attracted more than 300,000 users in less than three months of operation.

Turntable.fm was initially set up to conform to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s provisions for noninteractive Web broadcasts, though many expected that designation to quickly come into question as the site grew. The deal with ASCAP involves a blanket license, which sets a flat fee for performance of the org’s repertory, and puts the site on firmer legal ground.

“It’s great to see a tech start-up securing an ASCAP license from the outset,” wrote ASCAP director of marketing Jon Bahr in a statement on the org’s website, “ensuring that songwriters, composers and publishers will be paid fairly if the site succeeds.”

UPDATE: Performing rights org BMI announced it had also reached an agreement with Turntable.fm on Thursday morning.

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