Twitter tries its luck with music (again)

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Twitter is having another crack at allowing its users to stream music after it shut down its Twitter #Music app in April this year. This time around, rather than launching a standalone application, Twitter has built in functionality that allows users to play music directly from their feed while continuing to browse it.

audio_card_blog“The world’s most influential musicians and media producers already share unique audio content through Twitter every day. Today we’re introducing a new way for you to experience audio directly on Twitter,” says Twitter’s product manager, Richard Slatter in a blog post.

“With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices. Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app,” Slatter explains.

Twitter is launching this new feature in partnership with third-party streaming services like SoundCloud, which is the first streaming service to sign up. Because SoundCloud doesn’t only host music, but also hosts podcasts and other audio files, all of these will work with the new feature.

Electronic musician and DJ David Guetta released a mix to his more than 15 million Twitter followers using the feature and rapper Chance the Rapper has also used the service to promote his latest single.

Twitter’s first foray into music, the ill-fated Twitter #Music app, was created by the people behind music discovery service We Are Hunted. Twitter bought the service in 2012 and opted not to keep it running. The app worked by integrating with streaming services like Rdio and Spotify and offered recommendations based on the bands and artists users had followed or tweeted about, including the popular habit of people tagging what they were currently listening to using the hashtags #nowplaying or #np.

Despite Twitter’s best efforts to get musicians and bands on board with Twitter #Music the service failed to gain traction and suffered a number of setbacks, including the departure of Kevin Twau, then Twitter’s head of music, less than a week after the app launched.

This time around Twitter may have solved two of the key problems that saw #Music fail – the need for a standalone app and the need for users to have existing accounts with third-party streaming services. We’ll keep an eye out for the next batch of services to join SoundCloud in partnering with Twitter on the new feature, because without widespread buy in from third-parties it may suffer the same fate as its predecessor.

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