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Looking back at 2013, one product launch will stand head and shoulders above the rest: Twitter #Music. Oh how we flocked to it immediately after its debut and continued to use it even when faced with competing iTunes Radio and Spotify.
What’s that you say? You’ve never used Twitter #Music? You haven’t even thought about it since its launch?
Well, you and the rest of the country.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that Twitter is closing down its music service just six months after the initial launch. While it was unable to give concrete details, the Times offered theories why such an offering never caught on.
There are two main reasons why Twitter #Music never gained traction. First, it was never integrated into the News Feed. Users had to download the app or search for the site instead of clicking on a tab in the interface. This was actually one of the early questions raised about Twitter #Music: will it act like Foursquare and auto-tweet any song you listen to? Will it fill the feeds of users everywhere with promotional junk?
The second reason for its failure comes from lack of adoption from the music industry. Producers and musicians didn’t know how to measure success. A song that was trending across America or even across the globe wouldn’t hit the charts on Twitter #Music.
It’s this second point that makes me lament what Twitter #Music could have been. Twitter was recently validated by Nielsen as a valuable measurement for TV engagement and major media companies have started taking Twitter seriously as an audience metric. Twitter #Music could have been the Nielsen Twitter data of music. In a few years we could be reporting rankings from both the Billboard Hot 100 and Twitter. That was a huge missed opportunity.
So what will fill the small hole left by Twitter #Music? What will fuel our hopes and dreams for the next big thing?
Ladies and gentlemen: YouTube Music.
However, it seems like YouTube has all of the permits, it just needs to start construction. Its main adversaries would be Pandora and Spotify, and it would mimic their offerings – except with video options.
The logic behind YouTube’s music service development is that it already has a huge fan-base – many of whom watch music videos regularly and listen to songs throughout the day. If they’re already there to find music, why not create a specific hub to draw them in?
Well, because Twitter used the exact same logic with Twitter #Music. Users were already talking about artists and new albums in 140 character quips, so they created an app and site to bring the conversation to one place.
YouTube might have a fighting chance because it already offers music videos on its site while Twitter was trying to build on top of its product with more offerings. YouTube would be tweaking its existing platform instead of introducing a new one. Who knows, maybe in six months we’ll be reporting on the rise of YouTube and fall of Spotify, only time will tell.