News Column

Twitter Tweets Are Alive With the Sound of #Music

April 19, 2013

Twitter on Thursday launched a new music discovery service on the Web and as an application for Apple iOS devices. (Android comes later.)

The famous and almost-famous performers and songs that surface through the new Twitter #Music are based on tweets and the kind of attention they generate on Twitter.

Twitter first tested #Music on celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa and Blake Shelton. Now it's letting the rest of us past the velvet rope. The company says that many of the most-followed accounts on Twitter are musicians, with half of all users following at least one musician.

The iPhone interface is sweet, with an animated disc of the tune that's playing spinning on the bottom left corner. The Web display is similar.

How it works: Tap a picture from a grid of artists to find songs. Tap the spinning platter to summon volume controls and to make the animated disk appear larger. Drag your finger on the disk to fast forward or rewind. If you swipe left or right on the screen, you can play the next or previous tune.

You must sign into Twitter #Music with your Rdio or Spotify subscription to hear full-length tracks. Otherwise, you're limited to half-minute previews, supplied by Apple's iTunes. If you like a song, you can go to iTunes to buy it. Twitter is looking to add other music services.

To help you discover material, Twitter segregates selections into categories or charts, highlighting the most popular material or songs from emerging artists. If an artist doesn't pop up in any of the charts, you can search for them by name.

You can share via your own tweets whatever strikes your fancy, with a link to the track pre-populated inside your tweet. Even in the 140-character universe that is Twitter, you have room to voice whether a given track deserves an audience.

Twitter's push into music is part of its attempt to broaden its appeal to its user base and advertisers. In January, Twitter launched a mobile service, Vine, that lets you capture and share 6-second videos.

On the Web, you can check out the #service at Twitter announced the service Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2013

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