Twitter launches #music app on iTunes

Ryan Seacrest wasn’t lying.

The “American Idol” host tweeted about using a new Twitter #music app last week, when the service was still invite-only and a mystery to most Twitter account holders.

No longer is the much-anticipated music service for a special few in Hollywood. Twitter released the #music app Thursday, making it available for download in the iTunes app store. In a blog post, the San Francisco social media giant described the app as “a new service that will change the way people find music, based on Twitter. It uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists.”

The app is all about music discovery and sharing music, and a bit of promotion for artists, too. It highlights tweets from music artists and gives fans more access to follow musicians and listen to their songs. Users can tweet songs right from the app, and the #NowPlaying feature will let them view and listen to the songs that others have tweeted. And users can check out who their favorite artists listen to — so if you dig Mumford and Sons, you can search for the band and get a glimpse of the songs they’re excited about.

Songs are pulled from iTunes, Spotify and Rdio, and Twitter said it “will continue to explore and add other music service providers.”

A web version is also available at music.twitter.com. Right now, the service is in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It’s only available for iPhone, but Twitter said it has plans to bring the app to Android as well.

Twitter launched a static page last week that offered only a Twitter logo next to a headline reading “#music,” and a sign-in button under the words “invite-only.” The page came shortly after Twitter’s acquisition of We Are Hunted, an Australian startup that developed technology to track songs’ popularity on social media.

Twitter could soon be hosting TV clips alongside pop tunes. Bloomberg reported that the company is close to reaching partnerships with Viacom Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal. According to the report, the deals would allow Twitter to stream videos, sell ads alongside them and split the revenue with the networks.

Heather Somerville Heather Somerville (209 Posts)

Heather Somerville is a business reporter covering venture capital and startups for the Bay Area News Group.