Big things are happening at the convergence of social media and music. We just learned that YouTube plans to launch a "freemium" music service this year, and Facebook is making some tweaks to the music section of its News Feed. Amid all of these changes, another competitor has emerged, and it's a name you already know.
Twitter Music is still in early days, so it's hard to get a clear picture of how it will develop, but we have at least some initial information to run with. It could be out by the end of March, so read on to find out everything you need to know about the new app.
1. It Will Stream from Soundcloud
The music you'll be able to hear through this standalone app will be streamed through Soundcloud, one of the best existing tools for musicians to date. The service is free and reliable, and it'll no doubt be a seamless pairing with Twitter Music. Soundcloud's integration into the app is a good sign for the future of both enterprises.
2. It Doesn't Play Nice with Others (Yet)
Twitter Music won't integrate with other music streaming and discovery services like Spotify or Pandora, but it will link directly to the artists' Twitter and iTunes Store pages. Given that it exists as its own standalone app platform, this will really only be an issue of convenience, but that's not likely to drive away too many users. There's a chance that Twitter Music may sync with Spotify and other like services in the future, but we can only speculate for now. Soundcloud is more accessible for smaller artists than Spotify, which offers the artists a greater chance at exposure.
3. It'll Be Powered by We Are Hunted
Popular music discovery blog We Are Hunted was acquired by Twitter sometime in the past six months, and now it's clear what they planned to do with it. WAH's signature grid interface will appear in the app, and it will allow for biographical and other information to appear alongside artist photos in the app. The app itself will be built using their technology and on their framework, so those familiar with their existing site will find a lot of familiar territory.
4. It's All About Discovery
— Stephen Phillips (@huntedguy) March 12, 2013
The focus of Twitter Music isn't about simply listening to the music you love, although it gives you plenty of capability for that. The real goal here is to help you discover new artists that you might love even more. The "Suggested" tab in the app will recommend songs to you based on the artists you follow and the artists that other people you follow are following. You can also check into #NowPlaying for songs that people you follow have tweeted about. The "Popular" tab shows artists that are trending on We Are Hunted, and the "Emerging" tab displays up-and-coming artists that you'll (hopefully) like.
5. It'll Be Branded as a Twitter Product
Unlike Vine, which Twitter released recently, Twitter Music will be branded as a part of the Twitter empire. This might not make a huge difference to the average user, but it spells big things for the future of Twitter itself. If this trend continues, Twitter could re-emerge as a full-bodied media conglomerate. The Twitter account for Twitter Music already has 2.3 million followers and counting, so it has the potential to start strong.