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Twitter to shut down #Music app after just 6 months

LONDON — Twitter announced yesterday (Oct 21) that it will close its music app, which was introduced with great fanfare six months ago but has failed to gain traction in the marketplace. The company is expected to rethink its music strategy, according to a person with knowledge of its plans.

Twitter to shut down #Music app after just 6 months

Twitter announced that it will close its music app, which was introduced with great fanfare six months ago but has failed to gain traction in the marketplace. Photo: Reuters

LONDON — Twitter announced yesterday (Oct 21) that it will close its music app, which was introduced with great fanfare six months ago but has failed to gain traction in the marketplace. The company is expected to rethink its music strategy, according to a person with knowledge of its plans.

The app, Twitter #Music, has been a rare flop for Twitter, whose video service Vine, for example, has been a success over roughly the same period. Twitter #Music, which was introduced in April accompanied by hype from celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, was intended to acquaint users with new acts and see what their contacts were listening to.

But critics complained that by remaining separate from Twitter’s main news feed, the app never attracted much attention.

xAccording to the technology news site AllThingsD, which was the first to report on the app’s demise, Twitter #Music quickly rose to No 6 on Apple’s free app rankings shortly after being started, but gradually faded; one app analytics company, Onavo, puts the app at No 1,672 on its list (Vine, which places short videos within a tweet, is No 18 on that list).

A spokesman for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday afternoon, and it was not clear how, or when, the app would be shut. The person with knowledge of the plans spoke anonymously because the discussions behind the app were private.

But the company is believed to be developing other ways to integrate music more closely into its news feed. Recently, the company hired two executives with significant experience in music technology — Mr Nathan Hubbard, the former president of Ticketmaster, was named Twitter’s head of commerce in August; and Mr Bob Moczydlowsky, from the music marketing service Topspin Media — became its head of music last month.

Twitter has filed for an initial public offering of stock, and has said that it expects to raise about US$1 billion (S$1.24 billion) from the sale.

Music remains one of the most popular topics on Twitter, and pop stars routinely dominate its list of the most popular personalities on the service. For example, 7 of the top 10 accounts are currently musicians; the top three are Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, just ahead of United States President Barack Obama.

Music executives, always in search of charts that accurately reflect the changing online marketplace, have expressed frustration with Twitter’s app.

“Our data shows that sharing music is a strong predictor of a song’s hit worthiness, so an app that surfaced this information could have been invaluable,” said Mr Jay Frank, the chief executive of the label DigSin and the author of music marketing books like FutureHit.DNA.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t understand the methodology used in the #Music chart,” Mr Frank added. “We had songs on our label that had more retweets than charting songs, yet we wouldn’t show up on the #Music chart. After a few times seeing this disparity, we just stopped looking.” THE NEW YORK TIMES

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