News Column

Twitter's Stingy With #Music Service: Invite-only

April 18, 2013
Ryan Seacrest claims to be one of the select few to get a Twitter invite.
Ryan Seacrest claims to be one of the select few to get a Twitter invite.

An apparent stand-alone music offering from popular social-media company Twitter appeared online Friday, but access was limited to invited users only, with Ryan Seacrest claiming to be one of the select few to receive an invitation.

The San Francisco company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about music.twitter.com, which arrived online after AllThingsD reported that Twitter would launch a mobile music service Friday. The only official comment from Twitter was confirmation Thursday night of the acquisition of We Are Hunted, an Australian startup that developed technology to track songs' popularity on social media.

The page at music.twitter.com offers only a Twitter logo next to a headline reading "#music," and a sign-in button under the words "invite-only." Clicking the sign-in button Friday on an iPad led to a page seeking authorization for "Twitter #music web," which had the tagline "The best new music in the world right now." Unauthorized Twitter accounts were unable to gain entrance.

Ryan Seacrest didn't seem to have any trouble, however: The "American Idol" host claimed to be using the service Thursday night in a tweet, saying "playing with @twitter's new music app (yes it's real!) ... there's a serious dance party happening at idol right now." Both We Are Hunted and Twitter's verified corporate music account, @TwitterMusic, retweeted Seacrest's claim.

The success of Oakland, Calif.-based online-radio company Pandora Media and European import Spotify, as well as other companies such as San Francisco's Rdio, have pushed more well-known consumer Web companies toward streaming music, with Apple and Google both rumored to be working on streaming services. Twitter's service is expected to offer suggestions for users based on the Twitter accounts they follow and other information gleaned from a user's Twitter activity, then offer related streaming songs or snippets and possibly music videos though other services within the Twitter app, according to reports from AllThingsD and CNET based on anonymous sources.

"It looks more like a marketing tool for artists and labels than a service for sitting and listening to music, so my guess is that the primary impact will be an increase in tweets from Kanye West and Justin Bieber," Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves told MarketWatch reporter Benjamin Pimentel.



Source: (c)2013 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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