(UPDATED) According to a recent NPD Group/NARM study, Twitter was found not to be a top source of music discovery, nor was it even found to be a common outlet that people turn to after making a discovery.
This does make sense intuitively due to the fact that Twitter is limited to primarily a 140-character text message, and is missing some key elements that help complete the discovery process including biographical information, photos, and streaming audio and video. These elements generally can (and should) be easily found on an artist’s website or Facebook page.
Even after making their discovery elsewhere, only 2% of NPD’s respondents said they utilize Twitter to follow-up with their discovery. This falls well behind other follow-up activities like streaming the video (19%), purchasing the download (14%) and waiting to hear the song on the radio (12%).
The study also found that broadcast radio, TV, and one's own personal connections like friends, family, and co-workers continue to be how most people discover new music. For strictly Internet-based discovery, online radio and web videos were found to be important for the most “active” music fans.
Should Twitter Get With The Program?
Based on the data presented above, one would argue that Twitter needs to evolve beyond the 140-character text message and include more media options and offer expanded user profiles. However, if such were to occur, it simply wouldn’t be Twitter anymore. It would lose focus from its core competency as a service - which is to quickly inform users on whatever topic they’re interested in, and to offer an engaged communication channel to people whose lives we choose to follow.
If people want more media options and expanded music profiles, they'll most likely head to Facebook or the artist's website. Twitter serves a differnet purpose. It's about engaging with an online community and staying highly informed. While indirect music discovery can occur during this process, it would generally fall under the category of another found leading source of organic music discovery – personal recommendations.
Twitter should just continue being Twitter, and not be concerned about trying to be all things to everyone. After all, if all you're trying to do is become everything to everyone, you’ll end up becoming nothing to no one.
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and independent music business professional - Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)