We Asked Twitter #Music: What the F*%k Happened?

Why did Twitter #Music die after just one week?  Immediately after launch, Digital Music News questioned whether it made sense to demand payment for full streams, something that the stats sadly supported.

hand-left April 30th, 2013: “Twitter #music Is Already Plunging…

But here’s what Stephen Phillips, a top executive at Twitter #Music, told Digital Music News during a question-and-answer session at SF Musictech Summit on Tuesday.  Phillips founded We Are Hunted, acquired by Twitter to power the music play.


Digital Music News (Paul Resnikoff): I’m really wondering what happened in terms of Twitter #Music’s profile.  It launched and there was so much hype around it, and it was the number one ranked app and it was blowing up.

Then a week later, it was falling so quickly; it seems like this is becoming endemic to this space.

So what happens next?

Phillips: I just think it’s early days, that we can’t call it a failure, and I can’t call it a success.  It’s still just the beginning, and it’s going to be a long path for us to build upon.  And it’s just so important – music is just so important to Twitter that it’s not something they’re going to walk away from.

Obviously from the numbers they’re one of the biggest music apps around already, and I’ve got a dedicated team that’s been building music apps for ages, and we plan to move pretty quickly.

And I think in year’s time we can look at it and say, ‘has this been a success or not?’  And that would be a fair time to judge it.

Audience Member: Hi there, I’ve used We Are Hunted for years for music, loved it —

Phillips: So did I, it was really good [audience laughter]

Audience Member: — but uh, just curious, what story are you going to tell to convince people to pay for music?  Because personally, there are so many ways to not pay for music, that I just want to know, how are you going to convince me to pay for music —

Phillips: I don’t know, how am I going to convince you to pay for music?  Twitter’s going to convince you to pay for music?

Audience Member: If you’re — if you’re successful…

Phillips: Yeah, we’re kind of hoping our partners will solve that one [audience laughter]. That they’ll be the ones who convince people to buy their products.

We’re going to help if we can.  It was really cool to bring Rdio and Spotify to the table, we met them three weeks from launch and said, ‘I think it would be really cool if you joined into this.’


And we said, ‘how can we make this easier to get people to use these services?’  But I’m not sure we’re going to be the ones to sell that.  It’s not going to be wont of letting people have opportunities to buy music they want.

I believe there are people who will never [buy music] again.  And they’ll just have to monetize in other ways.

4 Responses

  1. Think Harder

    We are Hunted…Then a week later, it was falling so quickly
    Aweditorium…Then a week later, it was falling so quickly
    Twitter #music…Then a week later, it was falling so quickly
    This same team has now built 3 commercial failures and zero successes, yet we put them on panels to pick their brains and learn how they did it.
    The music business will correct itself when people start to invest in things that create value instead of things that just look cool.
    Spotify, another example, is a joke in the real investing world – just a company buying revenue in an unsustainable business model until they get a chance to go public and sell their shares to even dumber people.

    Why aren’t more people talking about YouTube, Muve Music, Sirius/XM, TuneIn, etc? These are innovative companies that appear to have sustainable business models. Entreprnuers should be emulating companies like that.

    Sorry for the rant

    • Think Harder

      We Are Hunted didn’t fall after a week … quite the opposite, that app had continuous growth. Nor did their team have any involvement with Aweditorium – it was built by thesixtyone.
      Research before you rant.

      • Visitor

        Dude is right about Aweditorium ->thesixtyone, not wearehunted.
        But to suggest that We Are Hunted was on some sort of growth track or had a business model of any sort is not being honest with one’s self. It was a “cool” site that about 10 people in Brooklyn cared about.
        The point being made is valid: The music industry values things that are ‘cool’ over things that are ‘valuable’ all the time, and constantly pays the price.

  2. hippydog

    I believe there are people who will never [buy music] again. And they’ll just have to monetize in other ways.

    One of the most telling statements..
    this is how I see it..
    you got the techs who firmly believe that without making major changes that people will not “buy” music
    You have artists who either just want things ‘like they used to be’ or are looking at the ramifications of not being able to “sell” their music and are like WTF!??
    and then you have the listeners who just want to hear the music and dont wont to have to jump hurdles to do so.. IE: fair value for the product.. (and NO, paying $21 for a cd with only one good track was never a ‘fair value’)
    and the three groups dont really seem to be talking to each other much..
    The techs are like “hey, we dont have a solution, but we built some fancy software that may or may not be a solution, give us your money and you can try it out..”
    The artists are “can someone tell us whats best? we just want to make music. and maybe eat supper everyday..”
    and the consumer (non fan) is saying “ya.. you guys are making it tough for anyone to care..”

    just sayin


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