Updated: Twitter #Music App Launches

Twitter, which released its music application to a handful of celebrities last week, announced today on "Good Morning America" and via a blog post that the rest of the world can now pile in. Twitter #Music is now available at https://music.twitter.com and as a separate app for the iPhone through the App Store in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

The application, as previously reported, lets users discover music through artist and others' Tweets, listen to their music using Spotify or Rdio, watch their videos on YouTube or Vevo and buy songs via iTunes; the company said in the blog post they will "continue to explore and add other music service providers." There is no Android app yet, although the company said in the blog post "over time, we will bring the service to Android as well as to more countries."

The #Music app is based on four pages or tabs, which you can swipe through to access. The Emerging tab shows "hidden talent found in tweets," while Popular page displayes music that's trending across Twitter.  The other two tabs focus on who you follow and your personal music taste.

Twitter Music is yet another attempt by the platform to branch out beyond the confines of its self-imposed 140-character limit and delve into the world of richer media. In January, it released Vine, a video blogging app that lets users capture and post videos lasting six seconds or less. A year ago, it bought Posterous to help enhance its photo sharing capabilities.

The free music app, available on both Web browsers or on mobile devices, is a separate download from the main Twitter platform. Instead of showing all updates, the music app presents a subset of the main Twitter stream that’s related to artists and their music. And instead of showing trending topics for the entire Twitter sphere, it shows charts of trending songs, albums or artists.

The charts are based upon technology developed by We Are Hunted, a small Australian company that Twitter recently acquired and relocated to San Francisco. We Are Hunted’s software continuously scours the Web for songs and artists that are generating buzz. The original We Are Hunted Application presented a constantly refreshed list of 99 hot new artists – based on its analysis of various online activities, such as search queries, blog reviews, plays on YouTube or SoundCloud, for example.

As Twitter prepares for potential initial public offering, the company must quickly ramp up its revenue sources beyond sponsored text Tweets. Providing avenues for photos, videos and now music multiplies the potential channels for the company to build a real business. The company is also reportedly negotiating with Viacom Inc. and Comcast Corp.'s NBC to secure additional video content for its Twitter TV effort, according to a report from Bloomberg. It’s unclear, however, how advertising revenue would be divided with its content partners, including Vevo, YouTube and others. Twitter spokeswoman Shavone Charles did not respond to several inquiries requesting comment.

For now, Twitter needs to first build an audience for its new music application before it can start selling advertising. To do that, it took a page from the music industry itself, copying a strategy that Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, and hip hop producer Dr. Dre pioneered in leveraging celebrities to launch their headphones company, Beats Electronics, in 2008.

Twitter let a handful of celebrity influencers such as Jason Mraz, Ryan Seacrest and others play with the app in advance of a public release. Seacrest naturally Tweeted about “lovin” the app. 

Now that the velvet rope has been removed, everyone else can now see if they feel the same way.