Twitter's #Music app, which offered social music discovery culled from activity on the 140-character sharing service, is reportedly nearing the end of its brief life, according to a new report from AllThingsD. Twitter is "strongly considering" shuttering the mobile app, after its download and usage numbers have dropped precipitously following a respectable launch.
From its beginnings, Twitter #Music was something of an ugly duckling at the company, the report suggests, having been spearheaded by now-COO of Jelly just before his abrupt departure. It was essentially developed (and operates) on its own, according to ATD, and never integrated into Twitter's core product to the extent that it would have any real impact on Twitter's material business.
Back when Twitter #Music launched, I took it for a spin and explained my distaste for the product in some detail. Before today, I hadn't really opened it that much since, but it honestly seems like I haven't been missing much. Twitter #Music still relies heavily on you using the social network to follow musicians you care about to work really well, or to follow people whose musical tastes you find interesting. Neither of those things are true about my Twitter usage, and I suspect it's the same for a wide swath of the network's members.
It's true that some of the features work reasonably well in terms of offering up some interesting new music, but none so well as similar services from competing apps. Rdio has done a lot lately to step up its personalized radio offerings, for instance, and they were better than Twitter #Music's before that. Plus, there's iTunes Radio now, which is a very strong, very free competitor with no stipulations required to get full track streaming.
The real problem is still that what's unique about Twitter #Music isn't valuable enough to outweigh the benefits of the other apps playing in the same sandbox. And while music discovery is an area with plenty of legs, it's also one for which people likely won't find themselves looking around for multiple solutions. Grab Songza, get some Rdio going, and you're pretty much set.
As AllThingsD points out, even Twitter seems to realize this: It has partnered with both iTunes Radio and Rdio on providing content suggestions over the past year. There's opportunity for Twitter in music – just not likely in #Music.