Twitter’s music service finally released, here’s what it’s about.
Music is, and has been, a large part of my daily life. Between my commute to work, extensive Google Music library, and lengthy drives to visit family, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to discover and play music. Enter Twitter’s newest pet project: “#music”.
First and foremost, what exactly is #music? According to Twitter, it’s “a new service that will change the way people find music, based on Twitter” and for the most part this is true. At its core, #music will aggregate a top list of music that’s popular and emerging on Twitter. These are determined by the Twittersphere as a whole and presented in a scrolling list of up to 140 tracks. In addition to this, it will also create an ever-changing feed of suggested artists’ tracks based on what you have enjoyed in the past. Naturally, this list will grow and refine the more the service is used.
I said that it was mostly a new way to listen to music, and by that I mean the tracks that play are pulled from iTunes and will give listeners a 30-second preview of the song, which is the same that can be heard within iTunes itself. So essentially it is offering a better formatted “top tracks” list than typically offered in music stores. However, this is where the similarities stop and the real brilliance of the service comes out.
For those with Spotify Premium** or Rdio Unlimited accounts, these can be linked to #music which will have a massive effect on the overall experience of the service. When activating the service link, instead of being greeted by simple track previews, all of the listed items morph into full and complete songs. When it’s considered that tracks act as a playlist this becomes huge because Twitter has effectively created individually customized radio stations for most of its userbase. This makes it easy to listen to the top, emerging, or suggested songs in one click.
This brings me to the two best features offered in #music that also happen to be the two best possible features of any music service: #NowPlaying and Artist View. #NowPlaying is a page that presents all the songs that your Twitter followers are tweeting about. It won’t give every song they are listening to, but will show all the songs they’ve tweeted from #music. This is the best way to find out what music your friends are enjoying, and share music you like with your friends/followers. Artist View expands on this in an interesting way, in that it is also possible to see the followers of other users on #music. Want to listen to tracks by artists that David Guetta or Bruno Mars follow? No problem. Go to their profile within #music and hit play.
iPhone #music Application “Home” and “Player”
With all of this awesomeness seeping out of #music, it isn’t without its shortcomings. Currently all of these features are only available on #music’s homepage (music.twitter.com) and on their mobile app in the iOS App Store. Android is listed as being in the works, but no news on Windows Phone or BlackBerry. The songs also only link to the iTunes store, however I imagine that this will change to include the Play Store once the Android app is released. Also, when utilizing Spotify or Rdio accounts, any songs not available on those services are completely removed. Even the 30 second previews are not available. This is likely done on purpose to maintain an easy flow of music when using #music as a playlist; however, I would like to see an option added that includes the previews, for those times when music discovery is preferred.
Even with these limitations, Twitter’s #music service is spectacular. It’s easy to use, has a great user interface, and integrates well with premium music services. It is a must-use for music and Twitter fans alike, and worth a look for enthusiasts of either. I will most certainly be using this as a means to discover new and exciting tracks to surf on in Audiosurf.
**Spotify users must have the Spotify client running, or be logged in to play.spotify.com.