Remember When Twitter Had a Music Strategy? What Happened to That?

I’m a diehard user of Twitter, both as a way to get information for myself and as an efficient way to push out news, comment and dialogue. In fact, I just passed 50,000 followers this week, most of whom I choose to believe are real (Please don’t tell me the truth; I need the delusion to maintain some kind of self-affirmation about what I do.)

When Twitter first started making noises about getting into the music space, I was optimistic. Since then, though, we’ve seen a series of missteps, withdrawals and retreats. What are the companies plans for music now? Forbes has this look at the situation.

We can learn a lot about the Internet from its artifacts—the websites that seemed exciting and innovative at the time, but have since been abandoned by both their users and their creators due to a lack of novelty, accuracy and/or relevance. One such artifact happens to be music.twitter.com.

Visitors to music.twitter.com expecting a thorough, up-to-date education of Twitter’s undeniable influence on the music industry (and vice versa) will be disappointed. The one featured tweet on the site, a promotion for Dan + Shay’s album Where It All Began, dates back to 2014. Below this tweet, there are links to Twitter’s nonexistent apps on Spotify and the now-defunct Rdio and iTunes Radio. More alarmingly, the “For Artists” link at the bottom of the page redirects to the general Twitter blog, perhaps inciting the claim that “Twitter has nothing for artists.”

Of course, Twitter’s music metrics make this claim blatantly false. 98% of the top 100 artists on the Billboard Year-End charts from the last five years have a Twitter account, and six of the top 10 Twitter accounts today are musicians (Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift take the top three slots). On the consumer side, 61% of fans say that content on Twitter made them interested in buying a single or an album, and 78% of Twitter users are likely to buy music every month, versus 57% of non-users. Touring artists and industry executives regularly host live Twitter Q&As, engaging in direct, two-way interaction with their followers. In short, a substantial percentage of the social network’s conversationalists are among the most powerful and most active people in the music business.

Yet, Twitter almost never mentions music in its investor relations, suggesting that the music industry remains an ambiguous component of the network’s short- and long-term growth. In addition, the company’s previous attempts to build tools tailored for music creators and consumers, from a standalone discovery app called #Music to a data partnership with indie record label 300 Entertainment, have either fizzled out or have yet to prove their effectiveness and ability to scale.

It’s worth reading the rest of this article. And oh, yeah: follow me on Twitter. I can be found at @alancross

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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