Twitter has indeed launched music.twitter.com, but for the time being it's "invite-only." According to AllThingsD, it will initially only be available to a select handful of “influencers” before its launch next week. At press time, a rep for Twitter had not responded to Billboard.biz’s request for comment or confirmation.
Yesterday, Ryan Seacrest tweeted briefly about the app, and we’re likely to see other celebs talking about it in the coming days. One of the tweets said the app "shows what artists are trending, also has up and coming artists."
As of Friday, the site consisted only of a simple sign-in page that displays the popular #music hashtag. Signing in prompts the user to authorize “Trending Music Web,” which according to the description is the web version of the trending music app. The app authorization permissions include “read” and “write” permissions, suggesting that the application will contain the ability to survey user listening habits and post them, perhaps automatically, to Twitter. A feature such as this would be akin to listening services like Soundtracking, which provide users with easy ways to share what they are listening to to friends and their networks.
According to a report issued Friday by TheNextWeb, an analysis of the website’s code reveals that the service will feature "following" and "tweeting" features, and also will integrate with Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, Soundcloud, VEVO and YouTube. Other notable features include artist biographies, charts and shows, and the ability to buy songs.
A few hours after the page's launch, music.twitter.com was updated with an “invite only” note. Myspace's new music-centric site was in invite-only Beta mode until earlier this year, although its audience was apparently aimed more at music-business insider.
Shortly before news broke yesterday about the service's imminent release, Twitter confirmed it had acquired We Are Hunted, a San Francisco-based music startup that tracks the most popular songs across the Internet and social media.
"While we are shutting down wearehunted.com, we will continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team," We Are Hunted wrote on its website. "There's no question that Twitter and music go well together. Artists turn to Twitter first to connect with fans, and people share and discover new songs and albums every day. We can't wait to share what we've been working on at Twitter."
Music networks online usually require two things; an active and engaged community and an element of curation. Twitter has that community of active music listeners, but other than a trending-topics list is limited in its curation capabilities. At the time of its acquisition, We Are Hunted’s emerging and Mainstream chart -- which users can still access via Spotify -- was just a tool without a community that was largely abandoned by its founding staff (note the special thanks to its founding staff found in the note on We Are Hunted’s Website). Twitter’s acquisition makes sense because it combines its active user base with We Are Hunted acclaimed curation asset.
AllThingsD reported that the service may be introduced in junction with the beginning of the Coachella festival, which kicked off in California today, but Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice (the company behind Coachella), told the New York Times that Twitter had nothing official planned with the festival.
Twitter's foray into music has the potential to be one of the world's most popular music apps and destinations for music discovery. The service passed the 200 million active user mark in December and has over 500 million registered users worldwide. Music identification apps Shazam and SoundHound have more than 300 million and 130 million registered users, respectively.