Apps, Mobile & SMS

Twitter Jumps Into Music: Acquires We Are Hunted, Develops App w/Soundcloud, iTunes & VEVO

image from waltribeiro.comTwitter has acquired music discovery site We Are Hunted and is developing a standalone iOS music app that will launch within weeks, according to several reports. The app will suggest new music based on the artists the user follows on Twitter with Soundcloud, iTunes and VEVO all delivering content.

image from wearehunted.comWeAreHunted has developed proprietary search technology that continuously scans the web to find new music that is creating buzz. That same technology will power the Twitter Music app. The future of WeAreHunted apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Spotify is less clear.  As of today, the WeAreHunted web site reads "not available", presumably as part of the transition."

By working with outside sources to deliver music, Twitter has avoided the thorny and expensive licensing issues that music tech startups often face.  But it also means the app launches with major limitations: iTunes only delivers short song samples. Soundcloud is mostly indie product, and will artists get paid?  Only VEVO deliver's full songs from major artists, but they come attached to videos and adverting.

"Music is like milk"

Twitter's move is part of an accelerating trend wherein major companies like Facebook, Google and Nokia use music to attract and retain users.  Direct monetization is not the goal.  As J Herskowitz wrote: "Music is like milk. A loss leader to get people into the supermarket."

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  1. Rights holders get paid when VEVO streams their music/video.
    Rights Holders get a good shot at making a sale when iTunes 30 second clips are played with links to buy song.
    What do rights holders get when their song is streamed from SoundCloud? Nothing. In fact, rights holders have to pay SoundCloud to host the music.
    I’m not that smart, but does the industry realize what is going on here? Why do the record labels put their music on SoundCloud? Not only do they not get paid, but how many paid streams does it cannibalize?
    Am I missing something? Honestly, who would’ve thought in all of this angst over how little per stream artists are getting paid, that there would be a growing company that pays them zero and actually charges them for the privilege.

  2. I think you’re right Bart, which is why I use Soundcloud as a tool for showing off clips or past professional work (sound design and original music for theatre / ads etc) and it seems this is how many people use it.
    I look to Bandcamp and TuneCore when I am trying to sell my music.
    Soundcloud’s recent changes, with the “Stream”, which plays random ‘related’ music after the music you chose: I still find this as terrible and patronising as it was when Myspace did it. Note to Soundcloud: Please stop this!
    Which is probably why I am not too excited about Twitter doing something similar.
    On the other hand it could help bring more music to people. I’m sitting on the fence with this one.

  3. Good point.
    So if this twitter service gets used a lot, I would expect that established artists would remove their stuff entirely from soudncloud (which doesn’t pay them when it gets streamed through Twitter) so that stream requests get fulfilled by VEVO (which does pay them when it gets streamed through Twitter), or iTunes (which lets people buy the music.
    This might not be a good thing for SoundCloud, I suppose.

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