Tweet the Beat: Twitter Launches Twitter #Music in Bid to Build Multimedia Platform


In its latest bid to become a multimedia platform, Twitter has officially announced Twitter #music, a web and app-based platform that allows users to stream trending music from the site. 

The company Jack Dorsey founded in 2006 now has over 200 million monthly users tweeting over 400 million time a day. After announcing multiple improvements to its API earlier this year, Twitter’s ad revenue is projected to generate $583 million this year and $1 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer. Now, as it builds channels to stream video content and music, the microblogger is setting itself up to become the golden-child of the emerging dual-screen media phenomenon. 

Rumored to have been soft-launched at California’s Coachella festival, the Twitter #Music app is now available for download in the Apple App Store and can also be accessed on the web. “It uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists,” according to Twitter’s blog. “It also brings artists’ music-related Twitter activity front and center: go to their profiles to see which music artists they follow and listen to songs by those artists. And, of course, you can tweet songs right from the app.”[more]

Music streaming is currently available through partnerships with iTunes, Spotify and Rdio, with the latter two requiring user log-ins. Currently available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, Twitter said the service will soon come to other global markets and Android devices. The current app features four pages: a Popular page that shows new music that’s trending across Twitter; an Emerging tab that shows “hidden talent found in tweets”; a Suggested tab that shows artists a user might like; and a #NowPlaying tab that shows songs friends are listening to or tweeting about. 

The latest launch is just the next step in the company’s master plan, says Jeremiah Owyang, a partner Altimeter Group in Fortune. Right now, says Owyang, “it’s a communication conduit where information flows through, kind of like a protocol of information. They want to be more than that. They want media content to flow on top of it and to share on top of it. They want to be more than that throughway because they want to monetize that as well.”

“There are times when you need a single-purpose driven knife in the kitchen and there are times when you are out camping and you want a Swiss Army knife. We have different apps for different purposes,” Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of product, said earlier this week at the “All Things D: Dive into Mobile” conference. 

But Fortune warns that the company shouldn’t try to be too many things. “Twitter’s success hinges on a simple, but often overlooked, principle: It must adhere to its inherent strengths—and avoid the temptation of overextending itself.” Owyang calls that strength “micro media content,” morsels distributed in real-time in short bursts.