Thursday, March 14, 2013

Twitter Jumps Into The Music Discovery Game

Twitter Music Test Tweet
Twitter Music Test Tweet
Music rumors at SXSW keep swirling, and the latest one is that Twitter is getting ready to enter into music discovery thanks to their recent purchase of We Are Hunted. WAH scoured the web to find new artists that didn't necessarily have much visibility, but fit with your playlist tastes.

Once again, music discovery is the holy grail for most of the deep pockets in the industry, and a startup with any kind of working discovery technology is bound to find money or be purchased in no time. The reasons?
  • Music discovery means it's easier to find new acts that fit the listener's tastes, which grows the industry.
  • More new artists means less reliance on old catalog for the labels as a revenue generator.
  • Being found by a discovery engine makes it a lot easier (or even possible) for a new artist to jump out of pack of hundreds of thousands of releases every year.
  • Bottom line: a healthier industry with increased revenue streams, which hopefully benefits everyone, although the big dogs always seem to benefit the most.
On the surface, Twitter seems the perfect delivery vehicle for music discovery. Imagine that you tweet that you're listening to something and add a few hashtags to indicate same. The discovery engine reads that, finds a match of new artists, and tweets you back. If it knows what your music delivery platform is choice is, the links are to that platform. This is just speculation on may part, but seems like it would be a great way to implement it.

The leaks about Twitter Music (the name of the new standalone app) are different though. It will stream from Soundcloud, and have a number of tabs for song selections. Suggested recommends songs based on your tastes, #NowPlaying brings in song links from people you follow on Twitter that use hashtags, Popular brings in the current trending songs, and Emerging tracks up and coming artists.

The fact that it's linked to Soundcloud is interesting, since it's more of a storage platform than a delivery service. First of all, will artists and songwriters get paid? Who determines what songs can be used by Twitter Music? What happens if your songs are hosted but you haven't registered?

Supposedly there will also be links to iTunes previews, but there's no info about connections to other services yet. Of course, everything but the purchase of We Are Hunted are well-placed rumors reported by several insiders (check out CNET for more), so much can change before the service is even launched.

All of this means that music delivery and discovery is getting a lot more exciting. There may be some questions about Twitter Music at the moment, but it's a welcome addition to our music world.


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