First, Twitter dipped a toe into the exclusive ocean of online video in the form of the service titled, 'Vine', which even managed to pip Pinterest to the 'quickest flash in the pan marketing attempt by a VC backed company' list. Now, they are eyeing up the likes of Spotify and YouTube in an attempt to be crowned the home of online music discovery, through #Music; great original name by the way, guys.
PR attempt or not, Twitter made a swift although rather public (through the press release on the purchasee's homepage) buyout of fledgling music discovery service, We Are Hunted - a tile based conjugation of the most popular music on the web, right now. They came to this sweeping conclusion with some nifty code, which totalled up what was being listened to from various popular channels, such as YouTube, Spotify, MySpace (yes, I said that) and Limewire (yes, you're still in 2013).
Similarly with Vine (and any multi-channel brand that takes this approach), I was disappointed when I realised I'd have to download a separate app for the experience. My iPhone icon space is precious and has been meticulously organised; I don't have the space to squeeze in yet another 'need to see immediately' app.
The app is simple, as it should be, with the similar tile based approach taken by We Are Hunted. Popping between screens (Popular, Emerging, Suggested, #NowPlaying) is reminiscent of the screen transitions on Android devices, is logical and fun to play with. For the graphics, #Music is jumping on Apple's creaking skeuomorphism wagon, manifested in spinning decks with a volume slider akin to those decks you never had.
The Popular tab reeks of redundancy with its quickly apparent, although unintentional, Radio 1 target market. If you like Radio 1, then the Popular tab is where you will be hanging out. But you can stick to Radio 1 without feeling left out with their 3 songs, 10 times a day playlist – you don't need an app for this. Surprisingly enough, Justin Bieber wasn't at number 1. I'm rather skeptical about this, perhaps Twitter have constructed an algorithm to filter out the millions of false Bieber accounts, in which case I thank you.
I clearly need to up my Hipster game, as I barely recognised any of the Emerging talents. If you're 15 and looking to impress someone at school with how up to date you are with your tastes, flip over to the Emerging tab and you'll instantly be in the know. It will give you the power that the MySpace profile page song choice gave me during secondary school - we all remember how important it was to choose a song that no one else had heard of.
My Suggested tab was blank. This highlights that either I don't like music at all, or I simply don't follow the 'right' accounts - thanks for that, Twitter. I presumed that this would be aligned with the music being listened to by people I follow, but clearly not. It's a shame, as this would possibly be the deal clincher for me.
You will probably swear after using the app for about 5 seconds. Why? Well, you're only presented with snippets of songs, think the iTunes 'preview' function. Once you've listened to this snippet, you're given the option to purchase the song from iTunes. Don't worry, you can listen to full tracks, after linking up your Spotify or Rdio accounts. Right, Twitter, so you're telling me that I'm using #Music to discover new tracks, to hear on another service that I already have an account with? Don't queue up too fast, guys.
Twitter's recent move into digital video and now the musical experiment, for me, identifies that the contemporary digital landscape is epitomised by a 'right place at the right time' startup catalogue. Google, with their monopolisation of search had the power to build a framework exploiting multiple channels and capitalised on their previously established brand image to ensure this power easily conquered new digital colonies. Facebook, having simplified the online social sphere engineered a powerful marketing platform in which to garner significant capital for building further differing platforms - I'm eyeing up their relationship with Bing as a potential Chrome OS competitor. Chrome OS signifies the potential for digital multi-brands.
Once your core business has been established, much like Twitter (although, uniquely, more on a brand image rather than financial level), your digital power attracts budding employees willing to unify the online experience. Having laid down the groundwork for this unified platform, I foresee - once the separate apps have proven popular, and engineers have constructed a uni-app - Twitter stepping towards a cohesive app offering all of their services, united.