Twitter’s own dedicated music app never really took off, but a new partner integration with Rhapsody brings 30 million full tracks to the app via new Rhapsody audio cards. The new cards go live starting today, with a number of artists posting their own tracks to the social network as part of the kick-off of SXSW’s arts festival.
The licensed streaming of full tracks directly in Twitter makes for a big potential market for Rhapsody that could lead to audience expansion. It also means that Twitter gains some native music magic without having to build its own product or establish its own licensing arrangements. The next step could be collecting these in a way that makes them available in playlists or other continuous playback arrangements.
Full track streaming is another ingredient in Twitter’s growing native media push, which also includes the live streaming video it will eventually launch with the help of Periscope, a company it acquired to make Meerkat-style live video broadcasts a built-in part of the main Twitter product. Music integrated into the network offers one more incentive to keep Twitter users in the network itself, rather than racing off to other destinations.
Rhapsody is hoping that giving Twitter another way to keep users in its network will drive benefits for its own service in terms of increased reach and brand awareness. Streaming audiences continue to be dwarfed by digital music purchasers using services like iTunes, despite gains in recent years, and a Twitter partnership definitely earns eyeballs.