Word of a standalone music service out of Twitter has been floating around for a week or so, but today the company took to the Good Morning America show to officially announce the service, comprised of both a web platform and an iOS app.
Twitter Music, as it were, is the brainchild of We Are Hunted, a startup quietly acquired by Twitter just last year. The app pulls in music from Rdio, Spotify and iTunes, while using data from your Twitter follower graph to deliver the best possible music for you.
If you have an Rdio or Spotify account, you can sign into them within the app and stream full tracks for your listening pleasure. If not, you’ll still have access to an iTunes preview to discover great new music.
What’s interesting is that Twitter is aiming straight for the mainstream with this launch, as opposed to targeting its usual early-adopter crowd. GMA reaches a huge audience every morning, and Rdio and Spotify have some of the biggest followings in the music streaming world.
By pulling in their offerings, not only does Twitter get a mainstream launch for its new mainstream media (music discovery) app, but Spotify and Rdio get to expand their audiences within the Twitter ecosystem.
Twitter Music seems to feel like a lot of other music apps while still being slightly unique from all of them. It’s broken down into four tabs: Suggested, #NowPlaying, Popular, and Emerging. The latter two simply pull in info from We Are Hunted’s platform to determine what’s trending and display up-and-coming artists.[gallery columns="4" ids="801404,801405,801406,801408"]
Suggested and #NowPlaying are more interesting. Suggested recommends songs and artists by pulling in Twitter follower data. This includes musical artists that you follow on the service (or on Twitter), as well as artists that the people you follow are following. It’s meta, but you get it. #NowPlaying plays music in that is tweeted out by people you follow using the #NowPlaying hashtag.
It’s unclear if Twitter Music is special enough to pull millions of users away from Pandora, Spotify, Facebook’s Music offering, as well as smaller services like Songza, Piki, etc. But music is a focal point of the social network. Some of the most prominent users of the service are musical artists like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, which is part of what attracts such a young, hip demographic to Twitter.
It also helps to have over 2.5 million followers on the Twitter Music account.
If you’ve been paying attention to Twitter lately, this story should sound slightly familiar. The social network in January launched Vine, a standalone iOS app that lets users create six-second looping videos to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Vine itself.
That app, too, came out of a hushed acquisition, and has since launched to much fan-fare, rising to the number one position in social on the App Store. Vine has also seen success with brands who are chomping at the bit to leverage the platform’s range of dynamic user-generated content. The makers of the Battlefield 3 game took to Vine to tease the title, Wolverine pulled off the very first six-second professional trailer, and the Tribeca Film Festival has even joined in to create a full-fledged Vine competition.
This, along with Twitter Music, shows Twitter’s clear path toward becoming a media company. There have even been rumors that Twitter is in talks with Viacom and NBCUniversal for potential ad and content deals.
Today, however, it’s all about the Music.
The app is rolling out today across the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and you can sign up via web now at http://music.twitter.com.
Update: The app is live right here in the App Store. We can also confirm that the UK and Canada have the app, so it’s likely available now to that small pool of initial countries.