When Twitter #Music launched last week, it wasn’t a surprise at all to those following tech stories, since rumors had been kicking up about its existence for months. However, it was a surprise to the Christina Frances Cone Band, which is popping up in the “emerging artists” section of the app.
In a world where we focus so much on “big stars,” especially ones with millions of followers on Twitter, it’s important to remember that these platforms can make all the difference for those who are just getting started and are waiting and hoping to be discovered.
I spoke with their lead singer, Christina Frances Cone, who didn’t get a chance to play with the app before it was launched. She wasn’t a big Twitter user before, but has been pleasantly surprised thus far: “I was a pretty light Twitter user before the music app because I felt like it should be reserved for jokes. Only the best jokes. Or original feelings, of which there are few.”
She says that “Twitter and I are in love” when discussing the new experience, giving us some insight into what it’s like to start getting tweets, and more importantly new listeners, from a group of people that have never heard of you before:
It’s been really, really great. I wasn’t sure how to engage potential followers/fans and they basically just perfectly did it for me… like they set up a meet and greet and I get to hug all of these music lovers.
The “meet and greet” aspect is an interesting one, as we knew that Twitter could be a massive distribution platform if some order was brought to it. Twitter #Music pulls in all of the tweets that include links to music that people are listening to, and then drops them into pages in the app that show trending information in order to get people engaged. More than likely, you’re not going to catch every song that the people you follow are listening to, so this is a way to trap all of that to go back to at any time.
The mix of new fans and the devastating news out of Boston gave Cone mixed emotions, but reminded her that people can rely on music to get through tough times:
It’s been so nice to be able to engage with actual people all over the world. It started happening simultaneously to the Boston news coverage on Thursday night and my Twitter feed was ridiculous. These very, very heavy things were occurring and then someone on the other side of the world would post about “Rattles Your Heart” and it made me feel so many things.
It will be interesting to see what other experiences bands and artists have, as more people start discovering their music, following them and interacting with them over Twitter. It could help them make money, as well. Full songs are only available to Rdio or Spotify account holders, so those listens make their way back to the wallets of artists. For iTunes, a 30-second preview is given, and someone can pay for the full track if they like.
This is distribution at its best, and Twitter was smart to jump on all of the data flowing through its network when it did. The next “YouTube” star could actually be a “Twitter” star, skipping YouTube altogether.
Will Twitter be able to provide actual data other than followers to these artists and labels, though? The total number of plays that a song gets is data that will be as important as the distribution that Twitter is providing, which could be a huge potential for revenue in the future. The music industry is a messy one, to say the least, so Twitter has a lot of work ahead of it.