Whether viewed from a social and cultural standpoint, or from the eyes of an industry relying on them to anchor global revenue, its plainly clear that on-demand music streaming services are a big deal right now. And many major tech and IT companies know it.
Major players like Apple, Google, and online retailer Amazon, are looking to launch their own services in the very near future, and then there’s ‘Daisy’ – the code name for the revolutionary new subscription based music service from Beats Electronics with Trent Reznor at the helm.
Then there’s the news that Spotify is looking to expand their market dominance by expanding into video streaming and has begun introducing new social media features into its popular service.
As previously reported, social media titan Twitter is looking to cross back the over way, with reports last month rumouring that the company had purchased Aussie music aggregate website We Are Hunted, and was eyeing an imminent launch of its new app before the end of March.
While it was unconfirmed whether Twitter had indeed purchased We Are Hunted to fuel its music endeavours, CNET now reports that the music discovery website has confirmed its recent acquisition by Twitter, who in turn confirmed the purchase on its own page:
We Are Hunted was created by a group of Australian software developers in 2009 and as of last June was attracting more than 1 million unique users a month.
The site generates a music chart by monitoring popular songs across blogs, social media, message boards and BitTorrent, from which users could then stream songs, compile playlists, and share content to their own social media pages, though it’s currently unknown how much Twitter acquired the site for. As a result of the Twitter buy-up, Wearehunted.com [will be] shut down along with all of its associated user accounts.
The initial speculation of the purchase was fuelled by the We Are Hunted website being down for extended periods, while cryptic tweets from the site’s co-founder Stephen Phillips hinted that major activity was already underway.
As a result of the Twitter buy-up, Wearehunted.com is now displaying a message saying that the URL will now be put to pasture, shut down along with all of its associated user accounts.
“While we are shutting down wearehunted.com, we will continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team,” reads a note from We Are Hunted’s Stephen Phillips, but was reticent to reveal just what the new service involves. “We wish we could say but we’re not yet ready to talk about it. You’ll hear more from us when we are.”
Industry reports suggest the service, simply called Twitter Music, is a new iOS app that uses We Are Hunted’s experiences and resources to develop a music discovery program, complete with the personalised user accounts that the site has now axed as part of the buyout, and reportedly uses Soundcloud to stream music directly.
One American celebrity has even been allowed access to toy with Twitter Music ahead of its release. American Idol host Ryan Seacrest confirmed the app’s existence by (appropriately) tweeting about it on his account:
Before noting his enthusiasm for Twitter Music, as well as British folk-punk singer-songwriter, Frank Turner.
It’s no surprise that Twitter are getting in on the music streaming market, considering every major media company is doing the same.
Apple is reportedly finalising deals with both Warner Music and Universal, for its new Pandora-modelled music streaming service that will be integrated into their iTunes store, but rumours suggest it is still missing a crucial inked deal with Sony.
Google has launched its online music storage and digital purchase store, Google Music, in Australia, a key step to taking off with their own on-demand subscription service, while online retailer Amazon is eyeing off plans to do the same.
There’s no faulting the growing cultural impact and importance of music streaming services, shown both by the number of big companies looking to enter the market, as well as their swelling support bases, with internet radio service Pandora reaching a milestone 200 million global subscribers.
The music industry is benefiting from the streaming boom too. The IFPI’s Digital Music Report showed subscription services experienced a 44% rise, with 20 million paying subscribers worldwide expecting to help account for 10% of digital music revenues, while the RIAA’s own recent report demonstrates the same services – which it labels ‘access models’ – accounted for over $1 billion in music sales in 2012 and a 15% share.