Twitter unleashed its music sampling and discovery service for public consumption Thursday, part of overarching strategy to keep tweeters engaged with the social powerhouse as a locus of entertainment content and buzz.
Twitter #music taps Twitter users’ activity to calculate most popular tracks and emerging artists. The app and website also let fans see artist profiles, follow them and tweet songs that are playing.
Songs on Twitter #music currently come via pacts with Apple’s iTunes, Spotify or Rdio. Users by default will hear previews from iTunes when exploring music in the app, while subscribers to Rdio and Spotify premium services can log in to listen to full tracks (if available). Company said it’s seeking deals with other music providers.
Twitter recently acquired We Are Hunted, the San Francisco-based startup that tracks most popular songs across the Internet and social networks. New #music service is based on the startup’s music app.
Some 96 million Americans, about 30% of the U.S. population, are expected to stream music from digital devices on a weekly basis this year, up from 85.4 million in 2012, according to eMarketer.
Social site has a similar program for video content discovery, partnering with TV programmers like ESPN and Turner Broadcasting System to promote short clips on Twitter. Company is in talks with other media companies, including NBCUniversal and Viacom, about joining the program.
“Twitter and music go great together. People share and discover new songs and albums every day,” We Are Hunted founder Stephen Philips wrote in a blog post. “Many of the most-followed accounts on Twitter are musicians, and half of all users follow at least one musician.”
Privately held Twitter is expected to earn $582.8 million in global ad revenue in 2013 and will near $1 billion next year, eMarketer estimates. About 53% of company’s ad revenues will come from mobile this year, according to research firm.
Twitter gave early access to artists and music bizzers to build anticipation: