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Geek Chic

#Music, Twitter’s way of searching new tunes

5/1/2013

Over the last 30 years, the music industry has been hit with repeated body blows: music videos, cassette and CD dubbing, revenue-crippling peer-to-peer mp3 sharing. Long gone are the days of albums going platinum on the day of their release, replaced instead with viral Internet hits and the emerging technology known as streaming music services.

A couple of weeks ago, Twitter unveiled #Music, a new music discovery web-service and standalone application. #Music allows users to listen to popular music, discover emerging bands that are being tweeted about, find suggested artists based on who a user follows and tweets about and #NowPlaying pulls music from tweets in a user’s timeline.

While #Music is currently getting all the headlines, streaming music is definitely not new. Streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and others have been around for years. The advantage Twitter holds over its predecessors is its public communication capabilities. A user can discover, talk about and share music all without leaving the Twitter ecosystem. Still, Twitter’s current music streaming splash may soon die out as both Google and Apple are rumored to be jumping into the pool in the near future.

Why the sudden boom in streaming applications? Because the music industry is dying to find a new revenue stream. A declining number is buying CDs, so music publishers are forced to sell streaming rights ridiculously cheap. Another glaring reason is that last fall Nielsen released statistics indicating teens are overwhelmingly using YouTube to discover and listen to new music. Not only are they discovering new music on YouTube, they are not purchasing their discoveries and instead simply returning to the video site for repeat listens. Why buy a song when it’s free and publicly available on-demand for listening?

So out of all the streaming options, which is the best? Personally I side with today’s youth. With YouTube, there’s no need to download an application — you get audio and music video, everything is free to access (other streaming services have membership prices) and if an artist hasn’t uploaded a song, chances are some unscrupulous user has. CV

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.

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