Soundtracking’s New Twitter Cards Music Integration Lets You Hear Photos Within Tweets

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While Instagram has pulled its photos out of the Twitter stream, tweets from Soundtracking now stream music in-line. The music moment-sharing app joins a small club including YouTube, Rdio, Official.fm, and Soundtracking that are pushing the limits of multimedia tweets. They hope a full-featured experience on Twitter will pull in traffic to their apps better than denying followers their rich media.

Now when you hear an awesome song or are watching a musician live and share the moment to Twitter from Soundtracking, your followers will see a “View Media” button in your tweet. Once expanded they’ll see an image with a play button on it — either a user-uploaded photo or an album cover. Click the play button and they’ll hear a jam by the artist streamed from within Twitter. Check it out here.

Soundtracking Music Tweet Play ImageRather than withhold content from people on Twitter, Soundtracking wants everyone to experience the full glory of its iPhone and Android apps. That could convince them to download it and share their own music moments.

It’s a crystallization of the idea that startups at different points in their lifecycles must make very different decisions. Soundtracking is still relatively small, so it needs to focus on growth, not monetization or engagement.

Meanwhile, Instagram has well over 100 million users and now needs to start boosting engagement in preparation for eventual monetization. At the same time, pulling Twitter Card support means Instagram’s parent company Facebook won’t be filling its competitor Twitter with photos that sit beside its Promoted Tweets and other ads.

Determining exactly when the growth phase stops and the monetization phase starts is a tough call for developers. And maybe refusing to give users what they could see within tweets is actually just bad business no matter who you are. But for now we’ll see a continuing trend of scrappy app makers pioneering what can be done with media embedded on other services.

For example, Official.fm has brought it to the next level. Along with in-line album art, you actually get a fully functional playlist where you can skip between songs — all within a tweet.