Twitter’s Sophomore Album: New Music Strategy To Focus On Conversations, Partnerships

Twitter has ditched its dedicated #Music app, the product of the acquisition of We Are Hunted, a social music discovery startup. But that doesn’t mean it’s dropping out of music altogether – the company has new plans for music tie-ins according to the Wall Street Journal, but it’s going to focus more on partnerships, conversations and supplementary content rather than on the music itself.

With #Music, Twitter was aiming to be a jukebox-style destination, with support for full streaming through partnerships with Spotify and Rdio. But with its new approach, which the WSJ says will be rolled out sometime this week, the focus will less on accessing the actual music, and more on music conversations and content including “bite-sized” music videos from partner Vevo. Other partners for the new plan will include SoundCloud, the music sharing network, and also potentially Beats Music, the Internet radio spin-off from the popular headphone company.

Twitter has star power in its corner, as most of today’s popular music celebrities have strong Twitter followings and active accounts, and as with TV and film, the social network operates as an underlying second-screen type experience, with huge chatter spiking around anticipated or exciting album launches. You can see how Beyoncé’s surprise debut of her album last year lit up Twitter activity worldwide, for instance.

The #Music app went about things the wrong way, separating out music as a standalone thing and mostly ignoring the network’s big value driver for that industry – the conversation itself. The new plan involves leveraging that conversation to potentially drive subscribers to Beats Music, apparently, and using what Twitter is already good at with regards to music is likely a much better path to revenue overall than trying to get users to buy into yet another destination for music discovery, of which there are now many, including new offerings from the likes of Samsung and Microsoft.

Twitter’s second crack at music should be better than the first, whatever it is, since #Music felt rushed and ill-fitting with its overall strategy. We’ll be sure to bring you more when it debuts in more detail, as Twitter is keeping mum on the subject for now.

Update: Twitter just announced it’s working with Billboard to do a real-time chart around what new music, songs and artists are being discussed as the conversations happen, which is definitely in keeping with the strategy outlined above.