Twitter has a new app for music, and I can’t help but think that the site’s desire to Twitter-fy everything has transitioned from amusing into slightly exasperating. As a whole, Twitter seems to be putting it’s fingers into what’s currently trending right now with the social media scene – social music, and talking about what your listening to in addition to your 140 characters. While I do appreciate the service – it’s filling in pieces of the social aspect of music that services like Spotify and Pandora don’t provide – it has some tedious qualities to it that I hope will be fixed as it rolls out.
First, the App
The app layout is pretty clean and easy to understand, but it does have some confusing accessibility problems that I’m pretty sure will be worked out in due time. The artist and song squares are large, but not so much that I can’t easily browse through artists quickly to find an interesting one. The search bar is nice, and if you click on one of the artists, you get a list of the artists they’re following.
I honestly find this quite refreshing, and a great way to find new music that’s similar to my favorite artists, but not derived from a tag system. There’s only so many times I can be recommended Momoiro Clover Z on Spotify and Pandora before I yell at the screen that Morning Musume is a guilty pleasure and Jpop girl groups aren’t really my thing. Now, I can search for recommendations from specific artists that I like to diversify my music exploration. That’s what social music media is all about, right?
I wish there was a definite way to access the web app directly from the Twitter website – so far, it’s much easier to download the smartphone app and use it separately from Twitter. I do appreciate that Twitter has denoted #nowplaying as the tag for posts coming from the app, and that they didn’t try to separate their app from the popular tag that was already being used for sharing posts on Twitter. Keeping the app within the regular Twitter sphere with this tag is really important, or else music.twitter will just be a slightly underperforming version of Last.fm.
Next, the Popular and Emerging Artists
The Popular and Emerging Artists sections are two of my favorite parts of Music.Twitter, but there’s some tedious elements that I wish Twitter could have ironed out with their all-powerful social networking clout. As of writing this, Psy’s “Gentlemen” is at the top-left of the most popular tracks (and rightly so!). You get an iTunes snippet when you click on a song, and clicking the artist’s name brings you to their Music Twitter page, with a list of the artists they follow. It’s a nice quick way to try out new artists, whether they’re super popular, or growing quickly in the ranks.
The emerging artists section is an especially nice feature for a music explorer, as it recommends trending artists without taking your songs into account. With other music sharing sites, I often find myself trapped in the recommendation bubble, which currently consists of Momoiro Clover Z and some new generation Kpop artists that I don’t care about (and most likely, neither do you).
The tedious element comes when I want to listen to the full version of a song. Twitter gives you two options – Spotify and Rdio. I don’t have a Rdio account, so I clicked on Spotify – it made me login again, and then whoops!, I don’t have the Spotify client loaded on this computer. It would be great to have a way to connect my Twitter account to my Spotify account for easier sharing, as I have my Facebook and Twitter account connected, and I use my Facebook account to login to Spotify. These are the big guys of micro-blogging – if they were going to launch something like this, having a more streamlined connect would have made the app more useful.
My Tracks and Artists – I don’t have any!
While I’m sure my artist list will improve in time, currently, these sections are quite bare – I have a feeling this has to do with the verification status of most of my favorite artists. Being a fan of Indie Japanese Visual Kei Rock doesn’t exactly lend itself to me having a lot of verified artists on my Music Twitter page.
While I can completely understand this, I did notice that there is an awkward disconnect between the Twitter account of an artist, and the Twitter account of an artist in that band. It would be great to somehow have a “related accounts” section that a band’s Twitter account to connect to – with this, it would be even easier to tell if a celebrity musician’s account was the “legit” one. You could also easily get recommendations from the individual members of the band as they relate to the overall band page; it would be fun to see the differences in taste!
I really do enjoy the social aspect of Music Twitter (or Twitter Music), which Spotify and similar websites seem to lack. The greatest part is that this app involves music in an efficient, streamlined way, but in the context of real-life instead of a purely music mix. Although there are certainly some growing pains for the app to get over, and some features that I wish could be there, Music.Twitter.com is a clean and useful app that could potentially have a place in the glut of social music applications. Plus, it never recommended Momoiro Clover Z, and for that, I am pleased.