After dropping hints last week of an imminent launch, Twitter has finally announced its new #music service. Launching on the web and as an iPhone app, the company says that Twitter #music "will change the way people find music". But how?
The service tracks user activity across the Twitter network to gauge the most popular music, and to help emerging artists to gain more attention. It also helps users to see what music their favourite artists are listening to by bringing their music-related Twitter activity to the fore; if you check out an artist's profile in the app, you'll see other artists that they follow, along with songs by those artists.
The music itself isn't provided by Twitter; rather, it's linked to three sources: iTunes, Spotify and Rdio. If you're using the app on your iPhone, you'll hear previews by default through iTunes, but if you're a Spotify or Rdio subscriber, you can easily listen to the full tracks by signing in and connecting your account. Twitter says that it's looking at adding further music providers in the future, but for now, you'll have to make do with those three options. Whichever service you use, you'll be able to listen within the #music app itself, rather than having to switch back and forth between apps.
The app is designed around four sections: Now Playing, Suggested, Popular and Emerging. The first two of those are based on the music favoured by the people that you follow; the latter two are based on data from across Twitter as a whole.
The #NowPlaying view in the app helps you to easily find songs that have been tweeted by the people and artists that you follow on Twitter:
To find the music that someone you follow listens to, you can search for their profile and then tap one of the listed artists, or hit the Play button to listen to everything:
When you discover music that you want to share with your own followers, tap the spinning disc icon in the corner to open up the player; the new tweet icon at the upper right enables you to share from there:
The company says that "Twitter and music go great together", adding that "artists turn to Twitter first to connect with their fans". Time will tell whether music fans will find the service as useful as it seems in theory, but if this all appeals to you, the good news is that you won't have to wait long to try it out.
The Twitter #music app launches for iPhone in the App Store today, while the web version will be rolling out over the next few hours at music.twitter.com. For now, the service is limited to only a handful of countries: the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Twitter promises that more countries will be added in time, and that an Android app is in development too.
Source and images: Twitter Blog