On Thursday Twitter released a new service that could have a massive impact on the music industry and social media. The new service simply branded #music is a way for twitter users to follow musicians, tweet about what music they are listening to, and find new music. The site, http://music.twitter.com/ seems to be a mashup of billboard, twitter, and pintrest and has a very simple and appealing look to it. Since 2011 more than 40% of tweets sent were done so on a phone or tablet, to tap into the growing mobile market twitter has also released a #music app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
The app ranks songs by their popularity with twitter users. If a lot of people are talking about a song…it will be at the top of the list. Users can listen to short clips of any song (similar to iTunes preview) with the option to listen to the full track on Spotify or Rdio (both subscription based music services). If the person likes the track they are listening to they can tweet about it from the site/app. Users are also given links where they can purchase music from the iTunes Store.
#music also offers users: Emerging, Suggested, and #NowPlaying categories to search for music. The Emerging category is advertised as, “Hidden talent found in tweets,” and is designed for users to find new music that is on it’s way to the top of the charts. The Suggested sections offers music that twitter thinks you may like based on who you follow, and what you tweet about. The #NowPlaying category will show you what music your twitter followers are listening to.
Why it is Cool
The main reason why the service has the potential to change the music industry as well as social media is because it gets more people talking about more music. In 2006 Colbie Callait gained so much popularity on her MySpace music profile that record labels were fighting over who got to sign her. Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Psy have all become famous due to how many people saw and heard their music on YouTube. Get enough people talking and the world will listen and #music allows for a high functioning dialogue.
Why it is Scary
While each user has the ability to turn off explicit content there are no parent settings to password protect, or permanently turn off explicit content. It won’t take anyone listening to music on the sight/app very long before an explicit song will play (took me about 2 minutes). With the extreme popularity and overt sexualization in hip hop music, the new service could make questionable content more readily available to students and children.
What it Means for Parents
Simply put, there is another social media that you are going to need to monitor, one with weak parental controls. The app should quickly rise to the top of both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store so expect your students to know about it soon. It will be up to you if you allow your student to have the #music app on their phone, but let me encourage you to talk to your teenager about it before you just say, “yes” or “no.” Take the opportunity to have a conversation about the importance of what we listen to and how the new #music service can effect that.