Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but for Rolling.fm, an online group music listening service suspiciously similar to popular solution Turntable.fm, it’s also a handy way to move the virtual crowd.
With nearly 100,000 users, the social network and online concert provider, which allows friends to connect, play and listen to popular songs and remixes in chat rooms populated by cartoon avatars, looks surprisingly familiar. But beyond allowing music fans to transform themselves into cute digital doubles then assume the role of Internet DJ, blasting tunes from an animated stage to crowds of comment-spouting listeners, it also offers subtle differences.
Featuring a rawer and rougher around the edges aesthetic, the service, accessible when you login via Facebook, also includes private chat features, a clubbier overall sound and simulated bling which characters can acquire. Support for changing the look of backgrounds or quietly communicating with users directly, including those located in other rooms or simulated party venues, is also provided, unlike in competing services. Still, Rolling.fm offers mostly more of the same tried-and-true formula technorati already know and love, including options to play tunes for other users, vote on songs and build playlists from a library of online or personal tracks.
While differences may ultimately be minimal, it’s not necessarily a downside for the company, founded by a former Google engineer, given the strength of the core concept. Offering users yet another vehicle through which to enjoy taking turns playing disc jockey for friends and random groups of online strangers, it’s just another welcome option in the growing pool of group music listening solutions.