Twitter’s new standalone music service finally arrives today on your desktop, but even more importantly, on your go-everywhere iPhone.
The social media company unveiled the new service on Good Morning America and in a blog post. Called “Twitter #music” — yes, the hashtag is intentional —the app “uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists,” Twitter wrote in the post.
The free app and service will also be a home for music-related information, so you can find and follow musicians and learn more about which musicians they follow, which will then, of course, lead to more music discovery.
Twitter #music started as a rumor but then quickly became a real, albeit rarified, experience for industry stars like Ryan Seacrest who tweeted about using the service last week, but didn’t reveal any images. Now we have a number of images from Twitter that depict a checkerboard “Now Playing” interface that shows music people you follow are tweeting about as well as songs that the artists are tweeting themselves. Each little square includes an album cover image with a Twitter profile pic and Twitter name on top of it.
Twitter #music also includes a suggested music screen and the ability to search for music from your favorite artist. Find something you like and you can play it right from the interface. As you would expect, Twitter #music encourages instant sharing: you can tweet what you’re listening to directly from the Player screen.
As for where the music comes from, Twitter says it’s a combination of Spotify, iTunes and Rdio. iTunes previews play automatically (pretty much as they do within iTunes), but for full songs you’ll need an Rdio or Spotify subscription. In other words, Twitter #music is a music discovery service, not a free music streaming service.
The app is available in the App Store now — Twitter did not announce an Android version — and the Web version is expected to go live sometime later today.
It’s a bold move for Twitter which now seems to be picking up and expanding into all kinds of new services. While Twitter still works with iTunes, it’s directing listeners to streaming services and not, apparently, back to Apple’s music platform to buy songs.