An upgrade to Twitter’s Moments feature, originally designed to offer users a curated “best of Twitter” experience, now turns Moments into a source for tweetable playlists. Through an ongoing partnership with music streaming service SoundCloud, Twitter Moments will now allow curators to create and share Moments containing SoundCloud’s audio cards – that is, music tracks embedded in a tweet.
It’s too bad you can’t use this feature for yourself, though.
To be clear, SoundCloud’s audio cards had been available for playing within Twitter’s timeline since 2014. But they had not yet worked within the Twitter Moments feature. The cards are a special format that lets curators attach music or any other audio content to a tweet. Then, when a user clicks on the “play” button in the tweet, the content simply starts streaming.
By allowing audio cards in Moments, curators can put together groups of audio-enabled tweets, making for a tweetable playlist of sorts.
This is a clever new addition for Twitter, which in the past struggled with its music ambitions. Though an ideal platform for following conversations around topics, including music, Twitter’s standalone Music app failed to deliver the sort of experience that could attract mainstream users to its platform. The app forced users to follow artists in order to power its music recommendations, but doing so could clutter up your Twitter feed in unwelcome ways. (It’s one thing to like Kanye’s music, but quite another to subject yourself to his tweets.)
The app had other challenges as well, including a larger failure to tap into the ongoing conversations and social sharing that makes the service worthwhile.
Playlists-turned-Twitter-Moments seem much more interesting and engaging than the Twitter Music app once was, but at launch it suffers from a huge setback: not everyone can create Twitter Moments.
That’s because only Twitter and select partners are allowed to craft these Moments, instead of the general user base.
When Moments debuted, Twitter announced partners like Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post would be building these mini-tweet collections for the platform.
With the addition of SoundCloud support in Moments, curators including Stereogum and Vice’s Thump are first to take advantage of the new feature, which lets them tap into SoundCloud’s database of 125 million tracks.
Twitter is missing a huge opportunity by keeping Moments “editorially curated” instead of a tool for its user base, and this SoundCloud integration is yet another example.
The Twitter Moments feature in the app could easily continue to display whatever Twitter deems “best,” while still allowing everyday users to craft Twitter Moments of their own. After all, Twitter users are already hacking their way into creating tweet stories by way of “tweetstorms.” Why shouldn’t they be able to put together multimedia stories as well, or a list of their favorite songs?
An easy-to-use front end for building a music-powered Moment, combined with integrations with top streaming services like SoundCloud, as well as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, or even YouTube, could be a huge draw among the mainstream who have yet to see a need for Twitter, as well as increase engagement from lapsed or casual users.
Of course, dedicated apps like 8tracks already allow for this kind of mixtape-building experience, but it’s difficult to get a large audience to explore the world of niche applications. (8tracks is combating this problem by raising funds directly from its community instead of VCs, in fact.)
You can explore Twitter’s new SoundCloud-powered playlists in Twitter Moments starting today.
If only you could make your own.