#Music: Twitter’s got a new groove, but does it pulse to the planet’s beat?

Twitter #Music may be the latest in a line of Twitter spin-offs, but this latest effort appears to have been given a little more love.

Twitter #Music is a standalone app that integrates with your existing Twitter account. You can still tweet, retweet and share from your current handle but with a specific focus on music.

I know, you’ve been tweeting about your favourite bands since before hashtags were cool, but the neat thing about Twitter #Music is it offers music lovers (and recording artists) so much more.

We Are Hunted lives on

If you ever happened to use We Are Hunted (a hugely effective Aussie-born music ranking service) then you’ll already be familiar with Twitter #Music. Twitter bought We Are Hunted and used it as the foundation for its new music service, albeit with some Twitterfications.

Where We Are Hunted once analysed data to figure out what was most popular with online consumers, Twitter #Music applies the same principles only within the Twittersphere. It makes for a more specific (and perhaps more relevant) experience, but the argument could be made that it’s also a little less exciting for music lovers.

Birdsong

Twitter #Music takes bands, musicians and all things (you guessed it) music, and places them at the centre of the user experience. Not only does Twitter #Music allow you to follow artists (and see who they follow), it also lets you listen to tracks from within the app (via Spotify and Rdio integration) and purchase music through iTunes. #Music also offers a recommendation engine which at first reading looks OK – it’s throwing up things I’m interested in at least.

There are some neat touches to #Music, but I can’t see users abandoning Spotify, Rdio or LastFM (services which – at least for now – provide a better experience and a better recommendation function for music lovers, and for which users may well have a paid account) in favour of the more limited experience found in Twitter #Music.

Still, without it Twitter’s new service would be nothing more than a stunted interest-specific version of the full Twitter experience (which really defeats the whole purpose).

The main problem I see with the service is that people don’t use Twitter like they do Facebook.

When you like something on Facebook (whether it’s a musician, TV series or book) you’re making a declaration that you enjoy that person, experience or product. The decision to follow someone on Twitter is made for a different reason. You follow users who are saying something interesting.

Sometimes the artists you like will have something to say (Lady Gaga, surprisingly) and sometimes they really don’t (Beyoncé, I am, like, totally looking at you). The point is you don’t follow anyone on Twitter unless what they say interests you in some way. And by the same token, it’s likely that you are not following the majority of people you follow on Twitter for their music taste.

Julia Gillard has over 370,000 followers and I’m willing to bet none of them follow her to find out what’s on her iPod.

I’m just not convinced about the overall synergy between Twitter and Music. I follow a LOT of people on Twitter, and most of the time it’s not for their music taste. Why would I want to know what Shane Warne or Piers Morgan are listening to?

Pulse of the planet

I’m not sure whether Twitter #Music is a conscious move to achieve the company’s audacious goal to be “the pulse of the planet“, but it’s certainly a bold move when you consider the gladiators already duking it out in the music arena.

On its own Twitter #Music is nothing special. If you’re already a mad tweeter it’s another excuse to spend a bit more time with the platform, but otherwise it’s probably doing more for artists than fans (at least for now).

When you take the app as one part of the wider lens the folks at Twitter want you to view the world through. Who would have thought five years ago that Twitter would have been central to the coverage of the Boston Marathon tragedy?

Maybe Twitter #Music will surprise me. Maybe it will be become to music as regular Twitter has become to news: the first call for the very latest information. If it does, perhaps the dream of becoming the planet’s pulse isn’t so far-fetched.

Richard Parker is the head of digital at strategic content agency Edge, where he has experience working with leading brands including Woolworths, St George and Foxtel. He previously spent 12 years in the UK, first at Story Worldwide then as the co-owner and strategic director of marketing agency Better Things.

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