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Having pulled the plug last week on its standalone #music app, Twitter will soon strike up a new chord for its approach to music — including a new alliance with Billboard.

The company’s new strategy will focus on music-related conversations and music content already on the service, according to a report in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Twitter launched the #music app last April, and Twitter said last week it will discontinue the app in a few weeks. It began as one of most downloaded apps on iTunes, but then quickly plummeted.

Several factors appear to have stunted its acceptance. While it served as a discovery tool based on the music tastes of people you follow, and for music trending on Twitter as a whole, it offered very limited listening options from the allied Spotify, Rdio, and iTunes services. You had to be a subscriber to Spotify or Rdio to hear full songs, and iTunes only allowed brief previews. Plus, there were separate screens and logons to deal with.

It’s not clear yet what Twitter’s entire music strategy will be. But new Twitter-based music options may be limited, given that we haven’t seen any announcements of big licensing deals.

Twitter has reportedly been in discussions with San Francisco-based Beats Music, as well as with Berlin-based music sharing service SoundCloud. Users have been able to use the music-sharing service SoundCloud with Twitter Cards since 2012. There are apparently also efforts to obtain shortened music videos from two majors, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group.

On one hand, the micro-blogging service has entrenched itself as a major venue for discussing music, and it serves as a 21st century fan club for a wide variety of entertainers. Of the 10 most followed Twitter accounts, seven belong to musicians, and Twitter reports that “half of all users follow at least one musician.”

On the other hand, music services are complex entities, requiring the right combination of pricing, inventory, and ease-of-use. They are also fairly plentiful, so the key question is why a Twitter user — who undoubtedly already uses one or more music services — would want to add another.


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