Twitter tunes in to easy listening

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The launch of its Audio Card feature means that Android and iOS Twitter apps are now seeing artists tweeting their songs via links to Soundcloud or iTunes. Simply tap on the Tweet and the music will play. With Soundcloud you’ll get a full-screen player for the audio while iTunes does the same, complete with links to pre-order or buy the content.

Summing things up, Twitter’s product manager Richard Slatter said: “With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices. Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app.”

This type of “listening experience” sounds pretty good on the face of it.

Yet this isn’t Twitter’s first attempt to help users get easy access to music. Last year it launched its #Music app, which recommended songs to users based on the artists they followed. The app detected popular tracks, with iTunes playing previews of the songs and premium users of Spotify and Radio able to listen to full tracks. The result? The app went the way of Robin Thicke’s latest album. It flopped.

So what’s different about Audio Card? Well for a start it’s already got some big names on board, including French uber-DJ David Guetta, who tweeted a remix of his latest song shortly after the feature launched.

It’s not just music fans who are catered for either. Podcasts are also available, so if you fancy catching up with news from The Washington Post or dipping into the BBC World Service, you’ll be delighted to know they’ve signed-up too.

This also opens up interesting opportunities for brands through what is essentially “social audio marketing.” Twitter is now a medium where audio content can be easily shared, while outside the UK we’ve already seen sound bites replacing text-based messages in markets such as China.

A whole host of questions are therefore starting to be asked. Should a company have sounds in their brand guidelines? How long should an audio message be? Will it be shared as a podcast, an audiobook or a webinar? What’s for certain is that the answers should be considered from now on.

For the main appeal of the Audio Card is its simplicity. That “single tap” is really all that’s required to go from browsing your timeline to listening to music, podcasts or other audio content. It takes just a second to make that journey and that’s massively appealing. It really might be the case that your “listening experience” has never been easier – and that brands have never had a better chance to make use of audio.

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