Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/19/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
LOS ANGELES -- Twitter has launched a service that lets people find music they like and tweet songs from iTunes, Spotify and Rdio.
Twitter made the app available for download from Apple's online store and also launched a web version on Thursday. Twitter said the service will eventually be available on Android devices as well.
The service uses information from Twitter chatter to detect popular tracks as well as new artists. Users who follow musicians can see other artists those musicians follow and can listen to 30-second clips of songs by them.
Tapping the play button on an image of an artist plays a clip from one song picked to represent them. In the case of Gotye, for example, a tap plays a preview of Eyes Wide Open. Users can tap another button that opens iTunes where they can buy the track. Or they can play full songs by signing up for a $10-a-month subscription from Spotify or Rdio.
While users can tweet what they're listening to and add a few characters of comment, they have to go back to the regular Twitter app for normal Twitter functions. However, the people you're following and who's following you are integrated across both apps.
The music app is strikingly more visually appealing than the regular Twitter app. Squares of photos of artists fill the screen and bounce around in response to swipes. The app also starts a turntable spinning with a little picture of album cover art when playing a song.
For now, the service is only available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
In a blog post, the company said its service "will change the way people find music." It is calling the app #music (hash music), following Twitter's practice of using hashtags to organize tweets around topics.
Thursday's announcement about a music service had been expected. American Idol host Ryan Seacrest tweeted about it last week.
As more music is sold through the recommendations of friends on social networks, observers said it's natural for Twitter to get involved.
"Social media is the current and the next frontier in terms of marketing everything," said Larry Iser, a Los Angeles music lawyer whose firm represents Justin Bieber. "One tweet from Justin Bieber can launch a new product or a new artist. It makes sense Twitter wants to come to the space and do what Myspace has been trying to do for years."
The music service's debut comes less than three months after the release of a Twitter video app called Vine that distributes six-second clips that can be played in a continuous loop.
The expansion into other forms of media besides text and photos is part of Twitter's effort to make its messaging service even more appealing to its more than 200 million monthly users. More frequent usage of the service creates more opportunities to show ads -- the main way that Twitter makes money.
The foray into music could open up a new channel of revenue as well. Apple Inc.'s iTunes pays partners a few cents for every song sale that is a direct result of an online referral. If Twitter's recommendations persuade enough people to buy songs after hearing excerpts, these bounties could add up.
Neither Rdio or Spotify are paying bounties to Twitter for new sign-ups, the companies confirmed.
Within a few hours of the service going live, new sign-ups and song plays on Rdio were already "spiking," said Malthe Sigurdsson, Rdio's vice-president of product. "This is looking really good," he said.
As with many of the other tools it has added since its inception seven years ago, Twitter bought the technology powering its music app from a startup. In this case, the music app is based on a concept and tools honed by We Are Hunted, which shut down its site for tracking popular music last week.
Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, is winning over advertisers, who typically must package their marketing messages in 140-character characters so that they fit seamlessly into the rest of the rapid-fire chatter flowing through users' feeds.
The company's worldwide ad revenue this year is expected to more than double to $583 million, up from $283 million last year. As a private company, Twitter doesn't disclose details about its financial performance.
That could change soon, though. There is mounting speculation Twitter is expanding its services and selling ads more aggressively in preparation for an initial public offering of stock that could come late this year or early next year. If that were to happen, it would be the hottest technology IPO since Facebook went public nearly a year ago.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has repeatedly said that the company isn't under any pressure to go public because it has raised ample financing from investors, including a $400-million injection from venture capitalists in July 2011.
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2013 B8
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Sobeys shuts warehouse
FDIC closes Puerto Rico's Doral Bank; Banco Popular steps in
Fresh rumours suggest StandardAero sale looms
Racing might return to New England's last thoroughbred track
Booze giant developing 'smart' labels for liquor
Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks
Stocks slip after weaker growth, end best month since 2011
Grain higher, livestock higher
US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug
Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded
Jury: Billionaire looted mining firm; trial eyed huge home
Fashion publishing legend John B. Fairchild dead at 87
Convicted Quebec fraudster back in court
Recalls this week: hand trucks, ceiling fans
US rig count decreases 43 to 1,267
California farmers to go another year without federal water
Former AIG CEO Robert Benmosche dies of cancer at 70
Man with heart issues revived near Newark Liberty bag claim
Native American tribes converge to discuss pot legalization
Greek prime minister rules out third bailout
OMERS earns 10 per cent return in 2014
Initial public offerings scheduled to debut next week
Artis sees bump in revenues for 2014
Obama pitches privacy bill, Democrats say it falls short
Competitors hungry for Seminole blackjack deal to expire
Bombardier's C3000 takes first flight
Business events scheduled for the coming month
As tastes change, big food makers try hipster guises
Ottawa posts $2.4B surplus for December
Grain lower, livestock mostly higher
OSC bans Black from director, officer roles
Obama to host European Council president next month
US consumer sentiment slips in February on icy weather
Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high
Fahmy's lawyer criticizes Canada's efforts
Volkswagen profits up 20 per cent for full year
Fiat Chrysler adds 467K SUVs to recall for possible stalling
Millions of young risk hearing loss from loud music, UN says
US economic growth in Q4 revised down to 2.2 per cent
Loonie up amid rising crude oil prices