Twitter readies launch of music service

After buying We Are Hunted, Twitter puts up webpage for Trending Music App

Several signs are pointing to Twitter launching a new music app and speculation has the company unveiling it today.

Early this morning, a new webpage, music.twitter.com, went live. With the Twitter bird logo and the hashtag #music, pressing the "Sign In" button takes you to a page that says it's the Web version of the Trending Music App.

The page also asks if you will authorize Trending Music Web to use your account. However, the page, which is still under construction, doesn't go anywhere.

And early Friday, Twitter announced that it has acquired We Are Hunted, a four-year-old music aggregation website that scans music blogs and social networks to continuously create a list of the 99 most popular new songs online.

We Are Hunted said Friday that it is shutting down but will continue to create services as part of the Twitter team. Executives behind the service would not say what they're working on for Twitter.

"We wish we could say but we're not yet ready to talk about it. You'll hear more from us when we are," the site said.

And on Thursday, Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol and his own radio show, tweeted that he has been trying out Twitter's new music app.

"Playing with @twitter's new music app (yes it's real!)...," he tweeted. "Lovin the app...shows what artists are trending, also has up and coming artists... spinning u now @frankturner."

We Are Hunted replied to Seacrest's tweet, saying, "@RyanSeacrest so glad you're enjoying it! Cc @twittermusic."

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said Twitter could be making a big mistake with a music service or app.

"I think this is a horrible idea as this will undoubtedly start to clog up Twitter, adding superfluous music playing instances very few users care about," he added. "Sure, a few demographics care what someone is listening to, but most don't and consider it social garbage. This could very well turn other users off. Twitter needs to be very careful with this."

However, Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner Inc., said a Twitter music service could be a nice change from other streaming apps such as Pandora, Rhapsody and Spotify.

"While there are lots of services, it would be great to see Twitter get into the music business if they can provide some added value, such as to marry their real-time capabilities with music, have the capability for users to easily find new music from their Twitter followers, or to purchase songs directly from a twitter music app and then immediately share that with their own followers," he said.

"Twitter content tends to be more public than say that on Facebook or other social networking services, so having that music-sharing capability with no issues around privacy could help artists reach more people," Blau said. He added that it's smart for Twitter to expand its business and revenue lines.

However, launching a music service or app could be easier than making it successful over the long term, especially with social competition from the likes of Facebook.

Hadley Reynolds, an analyst with NextEra Research, said he's interested to see whether Twitter can make a music service work.

"Both streaming music and Twitter itself have a real affinity with people's mobile experience, so I think it makes a lot of sense for Twitter to experiment with offering a core value added service like this," he said. "But Twitter's social engagement model is not as effective as Facebook's for powering social recommendations, so it will be interesting to see whether Twitter can gain enough differentiation and enough of a market foothold to compete with the existing streaming music services and widely rumored future offerings from Google and Facebook."

music.twitter.com
Twitter launched a website called music.twitter.com, which notes it's the Web version of the Trending Music App. Twitter is expected to launch a music service as soon as today.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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