The music discovery service Twitter’s been testing privately for some time is officially here: Visit Twitter #music and you’ll discover a collage of Twitter-bound artists stacked in colorful squares and ranked (by default) according to their popularity via the social networking barometer. Twitter says the service is available now in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and that more countries will follow.
(FOLLOW-UP: Twitter #Music Review)
We’ve known this was in the offing for a while, but not when we’d get to play with it: Twitter made that official this morning on Good Morning America, explaining the service would be available as both a website and iOS app starting today. Twitter #music’s raison d’être, says the company, is to help us find trending music as well as music related to the groups we follow. It does this by collating activity on Twitter to “detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists” (“popular” being the operative word — this isn’t where you’ll go to unearth likable local acts, say, or obscure indie gems).
Potentially cool: You’ll be able to play songs without exiting Twitter. The company says it’s sourcing three popular digital music services to handle music playback at launch: iTunes, Spotify and Rdio. The default player will be iTunes, with no login required, while Rdio and Spotify subscribers will have to log in to their accounts to hear songs streamed from either service. Twitter says it “will continue to explore and add other music service providers.”
I’ll be back later today with initial thoughts on the web interface and iOS app, but Good Morning America notes the app is divided into four sections: a “Popular” view (what’s trending on Twitter), an “Emerging” view (an algorithm to surface less well known music — pre-trending? — somehow), a “Suggested” view (the usual “you might like this because you follow this” associative thing) and a “NowPlaying” view (check out what your friends are listening to or talking about).
The only downsides I can think of at this point: no Android or Windows Phone versions at launch (though Twitter’s promising to roll out an Android version “over time”) and no, this probably isn’t where to go if you want to find something like John Medeski’s just-released solo piano album (incidentally, fantastic); the most popular music is going to dominate, naturally.