Twitter #Music's finally here and it's not bad at all | Bleader

Twitter #Music's finally here and it's not bad at all



For something so essential to most people's lives, combining music with social networking in a deep and meaningful way has proven surprisingly hard. The original MySpace was on the way to figuring it out when everyone bailed on it for Facebook (although the new MySpace does it great, but hasn't yet reached critical mass), Facebook managed to shit the bed harder on music than any other aspect of its service (aside from maybe its privacy policies), and no ground-up music-based social network, like SoundTracking or Apple's Ping, has ever caught on.

Rumors about Twitter getting into the music-discovery game have been going around for years, and after a few weeks of heightened chatter they launched Twitter #Music earlier today. Despite the name (which provokes a reaction about halfway between "ugh" and "of course"), it's actually pretty great.

The front page defaults to the "Popular" section, which simply presents the songs that are being tweeted about the most right now, in descending order, like a Twitter-only pop chart. The presentation's clean and well organized, with a simple music player, quick links to the artist's Twitter account, and easy-to-find buttons to toggle your preferences in terms of explicit content and whether you'd rather hear snippets or full songs, where they're available. But with the exception of a few exceptionally Twitter-compatible artists (Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, Deadmau5), it's all pretty familiar stuff to anyone who keeps up on pop radio.

Things get more interesting when you move to the "Emerging" pane, which offers "hidden talent found in tweets," although the precise mechanism by which it's sorted is unclear. But it's full of lesser-known acts like Fitz & the Tantrums, NAILS, and Eleanor Friedberger, along with a whole lot of total unknowns. If you're in the market to hear recommended music you might not discover otherwise, you can set it to play snippets, click on a song's panel, and let it play through a veritable pile of tunes.

A "Suggested" pane gives recommendations that at least in my case are pretty dead-on, considering that I'm already a fan of most of the artists they're offering me. And "#NowPlaying" shows you what the people in your Twitter timeline are listening to, which seems like it could eventually get really interesting, although at the moment I've got only three songs on mine, of which the only one I'm really into is Katie Got Bandz's "Pop Out." (Someone in my timeline apparently likes Empire of the Sun way more than I do.)

Between Twitter #Music's ease of use and the fact that it's already deeply integrated into one of the largest social networks in existence, it seems like there's more than a good chance it's the killer app that tech watchers have been predicting for years. And finally, thank God, there's a kind of a pop chart that Froggy Fresh could conceivably top one day.