After the successful purchase and implementation of Vine in January, the first short video app for Twitter, the social mogul launched its newest app, Twitter #music, yesterday (18th April 2013). This announcement came after Twitter’s acquisition of ‘We Are Hunted’, an Australian music discovery service that can show what music is trending online, as well as allowing users to play their favourite songs and discover new artists.
However, #music will focus on music trending on Twitter and integrating it with the social network, it will give users music suggestions based on the bands they are following. The service launched yesterday on https://music.twitter.com/, with a separate iPhone app now available to download on the iStore. One particular function reported by the press is the inclusion of a #NowPlaying tab, showing the songs your friends are listening to or tweeting about. For instance, if your friend tweets that they are listening to a song by Beyonce, that song will show up on this page, allowing users to explore and discover music.
After the launch of the Vine app in January, as well as adding photo filters last year, it seems as though Twitter wants to be as multi-functional as possible. As Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of Product, said of the platform earlier this week:
“There are times when you need a single-purpose driven knife in the kitchen and there are times when you are out camping and you want a swiss army knife. We have different apps for different purposes,”
However, Twitter was under scrutiny last week when it emerged that the #music app had been launched, but only to celebrities. The page remained locked to ‘general’ users whilst celebrities such as US TV presenter Ryan Seacrest tweeted about using the service. On the one hand, this staggered launch was impressive as it takes the traditional ‘preview’ model of selling products to the next, technological level. However, it has also caused irritation by adding a layer of ‘exclusivity’ to a social network which has thus far been socially horizontal, even to the rich and famous. The excitement of following a favourite celebrity and even communicating directly with them was one of the first lures of Twitter, even if some celebrity accounts are actually manned by a PR Exec.
Nevertheless, there could also be some intriguing ramifications. At present, Spotify as well as other music providers who are already associated with Twitter (YouTube, Vevo, Rdio, iTunes, and SoundCloud) are integrated within the #music service. You require a Spotify or Rdio account to log in. Whilst this service could only augment video music providers, it could be less positively impact separate music applications, as well as their advertising model – for instance, if people move away from recognizing the Spotify brand in favour of #music. However the most interesting ramification could be through SoundCloud’s integration. This association could bring new or unsigned acts to the forefront, offering for instance an unsigned band, one which would never be able to get to this level of reach previously, a means to raise their profile. In theory this could then quickly lead to being ‘endorsed’ by a celebrity tweet, ‘trending’ on the network and so on, redefining and augmenting (as MySpace first did) the rules of how new talent is discovered.
Ultimately, this service has received a positive response from its reviewers, albeit carefully selected celebrity ones. We will see over the next few days what the public says but for now, the potential is certainly tantalizing.