Twitter made another big step toward becoming an all-around multimedia platform on Wednesday morning with the release of Twitter #music, a music discovery website and mobile app for iPhone.
It allows users to listen to the artists they follow on Twitter directly within the program, as well as discover new music based on the people they follow and what’s trending on Twitter. Twitter unveiled its #music app to a national audience this morning on Good Morning America.
The Twitter #music application is divided into four main categories: Popular, Emerging, Suggested and #NowPlaying. Popular shows the songs and artists that people are tweeting about the most, while Emerging shows new artists that are getting a lot of buzz on Twitter.
Even more interesting are the Suggested and #NowPlaying sections. Suggested music offers recommendations based on artists that a user already follows, and even shows who those artists follow on Twitter. It’s like getting recommendations directly from your favorite musicians. #NowPlaying creates a stream based on songs and artists that the people you follow are tweeting about. Sharing a song with the #NowPlaying hashtag will add it to your stream.
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If you go over to your profile, Twitter #music lists all of the bands you follow right there. You can also visit any of those artist’s profiles to see bands they follow.
The greatest thing about Twitter #music is how easy it is to use. Just click or touch an artist’s profile picture, then hit “play,” and the song starts playing right in the app. Twitter clearly thought about other digital music properties. Songs are only iTunes samples (with a handy link to purchase on iTunes), but you can listen to full tracks by syncing Twitter #music with a Spotify or Rdio account.
The mobile app – which is currently only available for iOS but will soon be coming to Android – is particularly impressive. It works seamlessly: Touching a little spinning CD icon will enlarge the CD, showing the album art. Dragging a finger around it fast-forwards and rewinds. Users can control volume by dragging a knob inspired by mixing boards.
A few questions about Twitter #music still remain. Can any artist get their music on the app, or does there have to be a deal with a record company? It seems like each artist has one track at a time, and that track changes, but how does it decide which song? Also, how does Twitter #music decide which bands are considered “new talent?”
Twitter declined to comment on IBTimes' queries about Twitter #music, saying the company doesn't have "anything to share beyond the blog post at this time."
The program is the evolution of a program started by We Are Hunted, an Australian music startup that Twitter acquired last year. In January, Twitter launched Vine, an app that allows users to create six-second video loops. Vine has been very successful, and has been used by brands, artists, and even by citizen journalists to provide footage in the recent Boston Marathon tragedy.
Twitter #music may not be able to overthrow Pandora quite so soon, but as it stands currently, Twitter #music could make a big impact on how people discover and share music with each other.