One of the worst kept secrets in media was confirmed yesterday with Twitter's announcement of Twitter #Music, it's new music service that will be initially made available through iTunes, Spotify and Rdio. But what does this service offer brands and advertisers? The Drum asked the marketing industry for their reaction and views.
Twitter #Music could provide the perfect platform to help users discover new music, and this can only represent a good thing for the music industry and the brand value of music artists. This means for brands it is likely to present a great opportunity to really leverage their celebrity and artist endorsements (think Pepsi and Beyoncé) and ultimately maximise the return on their investment. It is likely to provide an opportunity for some truly innovative brand crossover with an artist’s other endorsers in the future. It is certainly going to be an interesting space to monitor and see how the major players in the social media space leverage this new tool.
Twitter #Music is yet another tool for harnessing data from out social network activity to suggest new tracks to us. What it means is that artists will scramble to get as many followers as possible so their songs rank highly in the "Twitter Charts" - it's a nice move from twitter to incentivise more artists to use the social network.
Don't be surprised if the next iterations of this moves into Twitter suggesting movies, TV programmes, games and clothing.
The launch of Twitter Music reveals further how the platform is repositioning itself as an entertainment hub that would help you to know what’s cool and what will be cool (using their global/local trends data). They’re also following the moves from other networks such as HypeM, Last.fm or Facebook - who already started to incorporate music recommendation into newsfeeds. At the moment, it only looks like a nice addition to existing services such as Spotify or Rdio; but we can already think about what brands could leverage from it.
As music is at the heart of popular culture, it is the place where the most successful brands strive to be. Twitter Music could be helping them on this journey, either by discovering, supporting emerging artists or by transforming themselves into curators, which is an interesting way to create a bridge between your brand and pop culture. But we need to remember that we’re at the peak of the hype of this newly launched product. First, we need to see if people are going to be interested in using it in the long term.
Twitter #Music doesn’t mean anything directly for brands, other than folk in their creative agencies will have another cool music discovery toy to play with, distracting them from that urgent banner ad brief.
Indirectly though it’s a major step in Twitter becoming more multimedia, broadening what users do with the already-significant time they spend with the service. Twitter are now generating significant revenues from this engagement, and are doing it in a refreshingly user-led way. This is a winning combination that could make them a major force in advertising very soon, so brands should be shaping a strategy, working out how to use the new Twitter in the right way.
Twitter is an interest-based platform that is incredibly suited to music and of course to discovery. The current discovery model for TV works well as conversation surfaces generally around viewing times whereas with music it's currently more spread and so slightly harder to aggregate.
The twitter music app allows people to discover music in a much easier way. Music discovery is not a new thing on Twitter of course, as Twitter tell us '50 per cent of users follow at least one artist' and DJs such as Fearne Cotton have huge followings and have been crucial in breaking new artists through the platform. The app makes perfect sense and in my eyes is a more sophisticated version of the Spotify Facebook app as music is influenced by more than just your friends, and this opens it up to those with the same music interests as you, or those that you deem an influencer in the space. Even in the case of your friends, it surfaces the stuff they like, not just that they listen to.
It's also built very well. It allows users a choice in where they link to listen to songs (currently iTunes, Spotify and radio with more to come) making it a very natural and easy experience, and the interface is slick. Plus of course, as you'd expect from Twitter, it's made for mobile.
Both the value it can generate in the short term and how brands will be able to leverage it, are debatable. It is different to Vine with its user generated content. Questions still remain how content will be driven by Twitter and how it is allowed to be pushed to users.
The opportunity for brands - they may begin to generate their own music or seek out bands to sponsor. It's an interesting development in the monetization race between Facebook and Twitter.
With musicians representing a large proportion of the top Twitter accounts, this app makes strategic sense for the platform. While we’re yet to see a demo of it in action, we can already see that it’s visually appealing, actually more reminiscent of something like Pinterest than the navigation we’re used to with Twitter.
Out of the app’s four sections (popular, emerging, suggested and now playing), it’s definitely ‘emerging’ which is the most exciting. Here, the algorithm will dig out less well known music for the listener, giving them what almost seems like a sneak preview before it starts trending.
While there will be monetising opportunities for Twitter from record labels, with song sponsorship and brands heavily associated with music, the app currently seems more focused on enabling Twitter to lead a trend conversation. And this is really the foundation that the platform is built on, so it’s encouraging to see that it still has its eye on innovation.
Twitter #Music is an interesting development because it can be used by brands as a way of further defining their identity and personality. It's particularly relevant for those built around association and aspiration e.g. fashion brands, automotive and luxury products.
We've recently seen Topshop and John Lewis start to use music to reflect their identity and broaden their reach (Topshop with Kate Bosworth's Winter Wonderland, described as a "360 degree interactive digital campaign" and John Lewis with cover versions used in their Christmas campaigns such as Gabrielle Aplin, Power of Love, and Slow Moving Millie, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want).
Twitter #Music gives these brands a further opportunity to define themselves through specific music, appeal to their target audiences and even promote new musical talent, with artists that reflect the brand's personality and values.
Twitter's #Music’s success at scale is far from guaranteed, yet it does represent a significant development in the platform. It stretches the ‘snacking’ behaviour of many of its users into another type of content, potentially expanding the duration and depth of their engagement with the platform. Provided that the quality of brands’ social media activity is equal to it, this deeper, more interactive, engagement offers authentic, new opportunities to connect. User music preferences will offer additional creative opportunities for Twitter’s keyword-targeting advertising.
The first hashtag I ever used on Twitter was #nowplaying, sharing my mood with followers by telling them who I'm listening to and which music is providing the soundtrack of the day.
Twitter is to recommend music to people with their new app using #nowplaying based on the people they follow. Not a new concept, then, but it could be handier than #nowplaying is currently- with the option to listen along now available.
Who really benefits from this? I think it will be a nice to have for most people, but it seems Spotify is the brand that will really gain - yet another reason to subscribe in order to listen along to songs in full.
It could also offer insight for brands in the events and entertainment industry who want to know what's being listened to and shared by their target market.
Twitter #Music will be a free dip into the trending sociable musical pond.