Twitter #Music reportedly near its end

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 11:00am

Tech and social realms burst into chatter Saturday evening when AllThingsD reported that Twitter would soon pull the plug on its #Music service, introduced just six months ago. Engadget speculated that the departure of Kevin Thau from Twitter, project head for #Music, might have left the still-new music-discovery app without a will to survive.

Twitter #Music always seemed an incomplete service, though with attractive features. The iOS app took off strong, then faded from the popularity charts. The service is not often in the news or conversation around music streaming platforms.

Hooking into music references on Twitter, #Music leads with the social aspect of music sharing which, for other services, is secondary. As such, #Music is an effective discovery milieu, rewarding the lean-in user with unexpected long-tail bands and artists. The default setting plays 90-second song clips from the iTunes Store, which by itself is unsatisfactory -- there is no native capability to play whole songs. (Similarly, the BBC’s new Playlister product requires a hook into Spotify, YouTube, or Deezer for whole-song listening. We have doubts about it, as expressed here.)

In fact, #Music can invoke Spotify or Rdio for users who have signed up with either one, and doing so turns Twitter’s app into a lean-back listening station driven by Twitter-based music charting. Set up that way, Twitter #Music is entertaining, illuminating, underrated, and, following the initial flush of curiosity, underused.

No official word from Twitter about the fate of #Music. We’ll keep up the vigil.

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Friday, June 14, 2013 - 12:15pm

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How would radio and webcasters fare when Google and Apple barrel into streaming?

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

Make way for the big boys.

"Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are eyeing the streaming and on-demand music business now dominated by smaller niche companies such as Pandora and Spotify. When they do -- and most analysts agree it's really just a matter of time -- they could give nearly everyone the ability to listen to whatever they want, whenever they want -- and mostly for free," wrote San Jose Mercury News' Heather Somerville yesterday.

If true, this brings up a whole host of issues, some of which Somerville explores, like the impact on artists, consumers' relationship with music, and others. But where does it leave Internet radio: both pureplays like Pandora, and music broadcasters who'll rely more and more on digital efforts to grow? Smaller companies will have to become even more creative and agile to offer a value proposition the larger companies can't -- a sort of "boutique" existence, catering to niche and local audiences. 

"There is no doubt that when companies this large enter into the field, it will be disruptive," Jonathan Handel, a media and entertainment attorney, told the paper.

Read more here. team unveils new online radio service Piki

Friday, April 19, 2013 - 1:50pm

The team behind social music listening site this week beta-launched a new iteration of its service, a year in the making: Piki.

TechCrunch describes it as "a Pandora-like, human-powered radio app combined with powerful Twitter-inspired social features."

While Turntable listeners hear music chosen by others in "real time" (in "rooms," like listening to a DJ in person), Piki scans music hand-picked by your friends over time, and creates radio channels based on this music (with the option of listening by genre).

"Piki is not the service on which you’ll listen to Lady Gaga’s latest album. At the same time, it is not a passive radio-like experience like Pandora," TechCrunch explains. "In the middle, there is room for a music discovery application that remains very personal."

Read TechCrunch's piece on Piki (there's a video too) here. Sign up to use the service (in beta) on the web or iOS here.

New Twitter iOS app will personalize music stream based on user's "follower graph"

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 1:10pm

Various news sources (CNet was first) are reporting that Twitter is building a mobile streaming music application for Apple devices, also involving SoundCloud. The new Twitter music app would suggest music to users based on use data it gathers ("based on a user's follower graph -- artists they are following, and artists that other people they follow are following," says CNet), using tech from music discovery service We Are Hunted (which Twitter acquired). The app could be released on iOS by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, following Pandora's announcement of CEO Joseph Kennedy's imminent departure (reported in RAIN here), a Motley Fool blogger says there are rumors of web giants Facebook or Google buying Pandora, and writes that acquiring the Net radio leader could make sense for either company. 

"(Facebook) has... expanded its reach with a new search tool, news feed, gift offering and pay-for-post feature. It continues to try to find ways to keep users engaged and online longer. A tailored radio station would do just that," the post reads. "Meanwhile Google, is always on the prowl and constantly looking to one-up rivals Apple and Facebook. The search giant could tune into Pandora first for no other reason than to keep it from Apple and Facebook."

More on Twitter, Apple, and SoundCloud here; more on Pandora, Facebook, and Google here.

Mobile ad spending in U.S. may top $4B this year

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

According to eMarketer, U.S. mobile ad spending is growing faster than previously expected.

The news source predicts overall mobile ad spending in the U.S. to top $4 billion this year (180% growth), $7.19 billion next year, and over $20 billion by 2016.

EMarketer says this year's unexpected growth is "due in large part to the success of so-called 'native' ad formats like Facebook's mobile newsfeed ads and Twitter's Promoted Products.

"These products represent a seamless experience across platforms for consumers—which means platform owners are able to successfully earn (or, in some cases, not lose) revenue as consumers continue to increase time spent on mobile devices with smaller screens unsuited to the bulk of desktop display advertising inventory."

Read more from eMarketer here.

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