Turntable.fm has inked a deal with the four major record labels in the United States, the company announced at SXSW on Tuesday.
Members the online DJing community will now be able to legally play music from Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner Brothers. Prior to this agreement, the free site faced several shut-downs over the legality of carrying popular tunes from these labels; in June 2011, Turntable.fm went so far as to tweet, "To all our international friends, we're sorry you can't use turntable right now due to licensing constraints. Trying to get you back in asap."
The licensing deal may prove a boon to the site, which reached its peak traffic of 207,000 unique visitors in July 2011. As Billboard notes, these numbers pale in comparison to their major competitors Pandora and Spotify, who fielded 17.4 visitors and 1.1 visitors that month, respectively. Turntable.fm reached 176,000 visitors in February 2012.
As labels see it, Turntable.fm’s goal lies mostly in a promotional capacity. As Warner exec VP-digital strategy and business development Stephen Bryan explained to Billboard, "We see it as a sort of funnel to attract more lean-back customers into the digital space and figure out how to monetize them over time…We want to see all our artists participate in these new businesses, and want to talk them through and get them more comfortable with them over time."