Twitter has annoucned #Music, a standalone iPhone app which helps users discover, share and play new music thanks to partnerships with iTunes, Rdio and Spotify.
Following weeks of speculation, the Twitter #Music app will be available to download from the App Store from today, 18 April in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The app is split into four tabs to help users discover new music liked by Twitter users, your friends as well as the artists you like.
The Popular tab shows you music that is trending on Twitter right now, scanning tweets worldwide to share with you which bands, artists and tracks are being talked about the most.
The second tab is called Emerging and shows "hidden talent found in tweets." Essentially this will attempt to offer you music suggestions beyond what the majority of users are talking about, a safe haven for those wanting to avoid Justin Bieber and Psy, we imagine.
These first two tabs could well become overwhelming, so to help each user get more value from Twitter #Music, the app's second two tabs offer up suggestions based on your personal music taste.
The Suggested tab shows bands and artists you might like based on those which you already follow and also who they follow. For example, a band you follow likes another, lesser-known band, then Twitter #Music will suggest both to you, broadening both your record collection and the second band's audience.
Finally, the #NowPlaying tab shows songs tweeted about and listened to by your friends, similar to iTunes' now-extinct Ping social network, which showed you songs your friends had liked, but was not well received and was eventually dropped by Apple last year. Twitter's hundreds of millions of users should prevent #Music from suffering a similar fate.
The social network said: "Many of the most-followed accounts on Twitter are musicians, and half of all users follow at least one musician. This is why artists turn to Twitter first to connect with their fans - and why we wanted to find a way to surface songs people are tweeting about."
An exclusive hands-on of the Twitter #Music app by Good Morning America reveals a "slick and polished design...all the pages have a grid made up of artists and songs; tap one of those and the song will start playing."
The playback interface features a spinning CD animation (Twitter clearly a fan of skeuomorphism) which can be enlarged and flicked back and forth to rewind or fast forward the track currently playing.
But Twitter #Music isn't the free music streaming service it first seems. Tracks available through Rdio and Spotify will be played in full (once the user has signed into both services), but tracks sold through iTunes will only be available as a preview, along with a link to buy it.
Twitter said in a blog post it "will continue to explore and add other music service providers."
Within the #Music app users can view the Twitter profiles of artists and see which bands they follow - a list separated from that of everyone they follow, making it easy to find new music.
Twitter #Music for iPhone is available now, as well as being availble online at music.twitter.com in those countries. There is no news yet on an Android version, or when the service will expand.
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