Twitter's first serious attempt at capitalizing on our never-ending thirst for music was an abject failure. Twitter #Music, which attempted to harness the music-focused conversation happening on the social network and turn it into music recommendations and discoveries, folded with little fanfare less than a year after launch. Now, the company is ready to give streaming music another shot thanks to a direct partnership with Rhapsody.
Starting today, Rhapsody users will be able to share full songs on Twitter using the social network's "cards" technology, which helps to display and share media like photos, videos, and songs natively on Twitter. Of course, the dominant streaming music service Spotify and most of its competitors already allow you to share what you're listening to on Twitter, but right now it doesn't use Twitter cards — so if you're on Twitter's site or mobile app and find a song, you'll get kicked out to another app.
That's not the case with Rhapsody — using Twitter's cards means you can natively play music on Twitter without having to stop browsing to go to another site or app. Rhapsody is also quick to point out that it has made deals with music providers so that any of the service's 30 million songs can be played in full on Twitter by anyone who comes across it, regardless of whether or not they're a Rhapsody subscriber. And of course, Rhapsody wants artists to start sharing music using its service on their Twitter accounts; at launch, Wiz Khalifa, Pearl Jam, Flo Rida, and Fifth Harmony will all be sharing music on Twitter through Rhapsody.
It's a good idea, but Rhapsody's small user base may hold it back
Scrolling through Twitter and being able to hear complete songs your friends share sounds like a pretty good proposition — and getting more Rhapsody links out there certainly will help the streaming music service, as well. But it's worth noting that Spotify and Rdio already make it very easy to see what your friends are listening to, and to jump right in and listen to those songs yourself. Given how tightly integrated Spotify is with Facebook already, anyone using that service is likely already seeing what many of their friends are listening to at any given moment — and jumping in and listening to those songs is simple, as well.
Rhapsody continues to state that it's the second-biggest paid subscription service out there with 2.5 million paid users as of last month — but that's far behind the 60 million who are using Spotify. And whether they're paid or free, all of those users can listen to full tracks that their Facebook friends are playing or sharing right on Spotify itself. Using Twitter's music cards will certainly make for a nice, seamless experience — but the relatively small pool of Rhapsody users out there means that your Twitter feed isn't going to fill up with music overnight, if ever.