Remember Ping from Apple? Me neither. But I’m sure Apple must be taking notes right now as #music from Twitter is surely being downloaded millions of times by iPhone and iPod Touch users all over.
In essence, Twitter #music is a music discovery app running on the über-powerful social engine of the popular messaging service. To do this, the app integrates seamlessly with your Twitter account so you can follow artists and see which artists other people follows. Additionally, the app can access your iTunes, Rdio and Spotify accounts for you to explore music further, buy the songs or albums you like (iTunes) or listen fully to them (Rdio and Spotify).
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The app’s main screen is labeled Popular, and as its name states, it is where you will find the artists and songs trending on Twitter, all displayed using pictures from the artists’ own Twitter profiles as square tiles with their Twitter user names at the bottom.
Tapping on any of these tiles will zoom in on it and allow you to play a short iTunes-style preview of the currently-trending song for that artist. Also, from this screen you can tweet about the song you are listening to and even follow the artist’s Twitter account.
Swiping to the right will take you to the next screen: Emerging. This one is entirely dedicated to relatively unknown artists, making it easily the most interesting part of Twitter #music. Here the artists are far harder to recognize, with most of them belonging to the indie scene.
Overall the selection on this screen is quite nice. However, if you follow the music scene closely, you might already know most of these bands, which can be a bit disappointing. On the other hand, if you are just a casual listener, the different bandstand styles found in this section of Twitter #music can be a real eye opener.
The Suggested screen shows some random artists that, at least in my case, were barely relevant to my tastes. However, I have to admit that in order for this feature to work properly, you will need to follow the artists you like on Twitter so that the app can feed your results from the artists they follow. The concept is smart and definitely convenient for artists who want more exposure and followers on Twitter, but I find it it a bit annoying having to alter my Twitter feed for the app to work as expected.
The last screen, #NowPlaying suffers from the exact same problem as the last one: It rehires you to follow artists so it can display the music they are tweeting about. I don’t follow or plan to follow any artists, but for what I have read online, those who do see some nice results.
As for the rest of the app, Twitter #music has some nice details that I really liked. For example, if I wanted to search for any of my favorite artists, the app usually showed me their official Twitter account on my first try. Likewise, you are not forced to exit the app when browsing the iTunes Store for songs, which makes it very convenient (and dangerously easy) to shop for music from the artists you discover.
Overall, Twitter #music is a great app that fulfills its promise, although it forces you to do a few things to be able to do so.
If you are an audiophile, you might not find much novelty on what it has to offer, but for the casual listener, there really is a world to discover here.