Twitter Music review

19 Apr 2013

Twitter Music is slick and pretty, if not all that useful

Twitter's suggested music chart
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Twitter unveiled its music app this week, imaginatively dubbed Twitter Music, for iOS and web.

This is the second multimedia extension rolled out by Twitter this year, following the launch of the short video clip service,Vine.

The app’s designed to help you discover new music by corralling information from your Twitter feed and streaming accounts, but a few missing features mean it's unlikely to bleed away as much of your time as Twitter itself.

Trending music charts

A visit to music.twitter.com brings up a layout that’ll look familiar to any users of We Are Hunted, the music aggregator that Twitter bought last year to power its new service.

Both the site and iOS app show a graphical tiled chart of the top 140 songs, calculated by whatever music is trending on Twitter.

[IMG ID=193636F]Twitter Music’s suggested songs chart[/IMG]

You can browse different charts, from the more mainstream stuff to "emerging" indie music. You can also generate a "suggested" chart on the basis of any artists you follow on Twitter. Signing into

Twitter also lets you see what friends might be listening to, though that's mostly an exercise in snobbery.

Listening with Spotify, Rdio and iTunes

Although Twitter’s spun the app as open to everyone, it’s pretty limp unless you have a Spotify or Rdio account; otherwise you’re stuck with endless 30-second loops from iTunes. You can’t sync the app with your iTunes account either to play songs that are already in your library, so it's really only there to encourage you to buy tracks. And despite earlier rumours to the contrary, you can’t play music videos through Twitter Music.

While the design is intuitive and slick, the integration with streaming services is spotty. We had trouble logging in with Spotify (though that now seems to be fixed), and sometimes tracks stopped playing for no apparent reason.

Sharing music

Twitter wants you to crow about using its music service, so there’s a neat little feature to let you compose a tweet from inside the app and tag anything you’re listening to. Unlike Vine, you can’t share to Facebook or any other social service though.

[IMG ID=193633F]Tweeting songs[/IMG]

Finding new music

One of the best aspects of Twitter is finding hidden networks of interesting people – like seeing who your favourite pundits/celebrities/musicians follow and how they interact. Twitter Music tries to replicate that and help you find new artists.

For example, clicking on Hot Chip brings up their Twitter account and any other artists they follow (though not any interaction they’ve had, sadly).

[IMG ID=193630F]Artist pages[/IMG]

But given how hard Twitter’s pushing this as a discovery service, it feels like it's skimped on features here. Why not flesh this out to show related artists, like Last.fm does? Why not give musicians a bio?

The Twitter Music app is available for the web and iOS in six countries, including the UK. The firm says it’s working on an Android version.