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Twitter #Music for iOS Hands-On: Good Music According to Twitter

Twitter’s new #music project is trying to make discovery more social. The platform isn’t just for immortal celebrities; it’s a tangible grid of trending artists according to Twitter. If you’re up to speed with all the latest top hits, #music is essentially a Top 40 on your phone that connects with services Rdio and Spotify.

When you first fire up the app, it prompts you to either use your Rdio or Spotify credentials so you can actually listen to the full songs. If you don’t have either, you’ll simply be treated to iTunes previews, which sometimes aren’t very satisfying snippets. Incidentally, when you click on the iTunes icon, you’ll be sent straight Apple’s music store to purchase the song.

Once you get past the initial setup, you’ll be treated to four separate sections, with your own profile at the end showing artists you follow. I follow none.

The main grid screen is the Popular tab, which shows new music trending around the Twitter universe. Right now, according to your tweets, Psy’s Gentleman, which debuted on YouTube recently, is holding the number one spot. The grid shows 140 trending songs in total, all complete with artist Twitter handles so you can easily jump to their page and follow them. Or, even more conveniently, a small follow button will show up on the artist’s picture when you click on it.

Every subsequent section acts the same way, relying on Twitter user data to cull together playlists of emerging artists, the top charts, suggestions based on artists you’re following and a #nowplaying area based on what songs people you’re following have shared. Some artists I’ve never heard of are showing up in my #nowplaying section, which I guess is the point. It even shows which person shared that song, giving you free reign to praise or lambast their musical preferences.

The experience isn’t particularly robust, and relies on Twitter’s data for finding music. That can be great, and probably pretty helpful once more people start jumping into the new service. But, even though it integrates right into Spotify and Rdio, it’s so much better to just go right into those specific apps, or even Pandora, and skip #music altogether for a better discovery experience.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...