In defence of Twitter Music

In defence of Twitter Music
Ah, screw you guys. I like it

The launch of Twitter Music has seen internet cynicism levels shoot to new heights.

Spotify plug-in We Are Hunted brought the latest sounds from hipsterville to a new audience of uninspired Spotify listeners, and now it's bending its algorithmic know-how to Twitter's will and hoping to help you discover your new favourite band in the process.

What's so wrong with that? I don't know, but plenty of people seem to be falling over themselves to find Twitter Music a laughable attempt at solving music discovery. Let's take this to an imaginary conversation:

Well, look Kate. My friends don't listen to the kind of music I like

This is the main complaint leveled at Twitter Music and I hear you - I do. I follow at least one person who likes David Guetta so I know pain, man. But the people you follow only has an effect on the Now Playing tab - you can just ignore that and focus on the Suggestions and Emerging tabs which are much better populated, in my short experience.

I'm not saying that's solved the problem because I do share musical tastes with plenty of people I follow and I'd like to plagiarise their tastes as much as possible, so the Now Playing tab is a missed opportunity. Only five songs are currently showing in Now Playing for me and one of them is by Emeli Sande. That's largely because it requires people to tweet using #nowplaying to show up, and that's the kind of behaviour that makes me unfollow people.

It keeps telling me I'll like Lenny Kravitz/The Killers/One Direction/Ke$ha

And do you?


Hey, One Direction are not that bad. Unfortunately, Twitter's being pretty secretive about how it's generating suggestions for you, other than by looking at what artists you follow and what "engagement" you've participated in.

Going by my own suggested songs, I imagine it puts a fair amount of stock in the artists you follow on Twitter. Mine includes a lot of dark, woozy guitar music which is largely because I only follow about four bands and one of them is The National. So I'm sorry, I don't know what you've done to give Twitter this warped view of your music tastes. Are you absolutely sure you're not a secret Ke$ha fan?

Yeah but I like Spotify Social/the radio/grubbing about in record shops/when new bands come to me in dreams

Why does it have to be either/or? You can use Twitter Music as well as kicking it as old school. If you prefer rocking up to tiny gigs in dive bars in the hope of discovering the next big thing then you don't have to stop doing that.

But at the very least, Twitter Music an elegant solution for those boring Thursday afternoons when you're all at musical sea and don't know what you feel like listening to - and that's all it claims to be. The suggested artists tab isn't all killer no filler, but it certainly had a good feel for at least one genre of music I like and threw up some artists I wasn't already familiar with - which is exactly what I want from it.


2003 called, wants its emerging artists back

No one's claiming that Twitter Music is the world's greatest recommendation engine - is roundly agreed to be more accurate and there's no replacing friends who know your music taste inside out. But solving the recommendation problem has long been the aim of music streaming services and this is just another attempt. Presumably Twitter Music will only improve with time.

Okay, but look at the trending tab! It's terrible

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.