Twitter today is releasing a service that the social network hopes will change how people find new music and artists.
The service, dubbed #music, uses tweets to cull the hottest new songs, groups and singers. It also focuses on musical artists and their music-related Twitter activity, letting users in on what groups or singers they follow and tweet about.
Twitter #Music can be accessed on the Web or used as an app for the iOS platform that is available for download from Apple's App Store. Right now, the Web service is only available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Twitter noted that it is looking to make the service available to more countries and to eventuallymake the app available on the Android platform.
"Twitter and music go great together," wrote Stephen Philips, the founder of We Are Hunted, in a blog post. "Many of the most-followed accounts on Twitter are musicians, and half of all users follow at least one musician. This is why artists turn to Twitter first to connect with their fans -- and why we wanted to find a way to surface songs people are tweeting about."
This is a great move for Twitter, according to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.
"This adds more value to the Twitter brand," said Kerravala. "This is important to the future of Twitter as the company tries to expand into other content areas. It's all about retaining eyeballs and that may be the most important metric for social companies."
Last Friday, Twitter announced that it had acquired We Are Hunted, a four-year-old music aggregation site that scans music blogs and social networks to continuously create a list of the 99 most popular new songs online. Twitter quickly turned that purchase into a new service and app for the micro-blogging site.
About a week ago, reports surfaced that Twitter was working on just such a music service.
The webpage, music.twitter.com, went live without explanation. However, with the Twitter bird logo and the hashtag #music, it was clear that the social network had something cooking. The site was still under construction but a "Sign In" button took you to a page that said it was the Web version of the Trending Music App.
Another clue came from Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol and his own radio show, when he tweeted last week that he had 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."
Twitter said today that its new service could become a major player in the music industry, potentially changing the way people find songs.
The service and app enable users who find an interesting song to click on #NowPlaying to listen to the song.
"Or if you're scrolling through a chart and you want to learn more about a band, like Chvrches, you can tap their avatar to see their top song, follow them right from the chart, or tap their Twitter username to go to their profile," wrote Philips. "And as you discover new songs that you want to share with your followers on Twitter, simply tap the spinning disc in the lower left corner. This opens the player, and you can tweet from there...."
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 email@example.com.