Every time I teach an iPad class I ask if anyone uses Twitter. I’m almost always met with a resounding no. Until you use Twitter, it’s hard to see the point of it — 140 character updates? And what’s with those those ubiquitous #hashtag symbols — the ones that have started spreading to Facebook and elsewhere online? So I usually bite my tongue and don’t try to convince everyone to use it. But with today’s release of #music, I might have an extra tool in my pro-twitter arsenal.
Almost everyone I know or teach has Pandora on their iPads or iPhones — it’s a must have app for anyone who even likes music, with customized radio stations for everyone. The selling point for the service (not that it needs much of a one) is how it helps you discover new music. They have a fancy name for it, of course (the music genome project), but the basic idea is that it tries to find music similar to things it knows you like. If you start a radio station based on the Beatles, it looks for bands that feature similar characteristics (heavy use of harmonies, guitar melodies, similar era and so on). I’m not musical enough to appreciate all the different levels they try to match, but when I put a station on I often find artists that I’ve never heard of but whom I love. So, it works!
Twitter is taking a slightly different approach to the music discovery field, closer to what Spotify and the now defunct Ping service by Apple use. It has multiple view for you. First, you can view what artists and songs are trending on Twitter right now. This is a pretty broad overview — good to keep up with trends, but probably with a lot of music that doesn’t interest you. You can also view “emerging,” which Twitter explains thus: “It uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists.”
You can also view songs that people you follow are tweeting about, or view suggested songs based on the musicians you follow. And of course they’ve made it easy to tweet about the music in turn, which helps to make music a bigger part of the daily conversation on twitter. Previews of tracks are generated through iTunes, and if you have a rdio or spotify account you can log in with that for full length tracks through the player.
And for those of you who are using airplay speakers or an apple TV, you can airplay music from the app directly to those devices.
Since the app was just released to the general public today, we’ve only had an hour or so to play with it — have you used it? What are your thoughts?