Why did Twitter spend money on a headphone firm?
This is the exhausting fact: Twitter, as fashionable as it’s, is not being profitable. Its shares lately hit an all-time low. It looks like the corporate is making an attempt something it could to remain afloat. It is already turned stars into hearts. It is launched Moments, a curated information expertise for brand spanking new customers. It is diversified into video with Vine and, extra just lately, Periscope. It is even wanting into increasing its one hundred forty-character restrict to 10,000. And now, Twitter may additionally be trying to get again into music.
Or so it appears. Buried within the midst of final week’s CES blitz was a bit of stories that Twitter had made a big funding in Muzik, a headphones startup. At first blush, this appears weird: Twitter and headphones do not appear to go collectively. Why would Twitter put a lot cash into one thing so outdoors its core curiosity?
However Muzik is not an unusual pair of headphones. As an alternative of simply utilizing it to take heed to music, you’ll be able to map sure buttons in order that, when pressed, the gadget shares no matter you are listening to on the social platform of your selection — which, in fact, consists of Twitter. Should you like, you’ll be able to even connect a photograph and a map location of the place you’re to create a “Second.”
“It permits individuals to create these particular moments in time,” stated Jason Hardi, Muzik’s founder and CEO. “It creates a visible soundtrack of your life.”
— Muzik CES (@muzikces) January eight, 2016
It does not matter what music supply you are listening to both. Hardi tells me that Muzik makes use of a Shazam-sort know-how to routinely acknowledge what music you are listening to — be it on Pandora, iHeartRadio or iTunes. Then it is capable of seize the metadata of that music and discover a hyperlink to it from a “authorized supply” (which on this case can be Spotify), at which level it routinely pastes that hyperlink into the tweet. Voilà: immediately shared music, no muss and no fuss.
The clue to what the deal means, then, has much less to do with Muzik’s hardware and has every part to do with its software program.
But when requested about Muzik’s partnership with Twitter, Hardi would not reveal a lot past what was already reported. He did, nevertheless, supply a number of vital insights.
“We’re engaged on a whole lot of superb issues collectively,” stated Hardi. “I can inform you that a part of the connection is that we will make it simpler for individuals to attach to one another and share music. It will join tradition.”
There are a couple of clues as to what this all means. A number of years in the past, Twitter experimented with music when it purchased discovery service We Are Hunted. It launched an entire #Music web site together with apps for Android and iOS that promised that will help you discover extra tunes by way of tweets from artists and your folks. Sadly, it tanked. It nonetheless relied on different providers like Spotify and Rdio should you needed to play full tracks and, for probably the most half, individuals simply did not use it sufficient for the endeavor to make sense.
Apparently, the website and account that the corporate used for #Music continues to be alive and kicking. It tweets music-associated information all over the world and sometimes retweets new releases from artists. It additionally retains an ongoing listing of In style Songs which might be trending. Based mostly on its continued existence, it appears to me that Twitter is probably a minimum of slightly bit within the re-integration of music into its service.
However as an alternative of getting its personal app and repair, which is financially dangerous, what if Twitter invested in a Muzik’s Shazam-like know-how as an alternative? What if everybody, it doesn’t matter what audio they’re listening to, might immediately press a button and have that music be shared on Twitter? And what if that sensible audio-sensing know-how was built-in proper into Twitter itself so you do not ever need to hunt and peck for a URL to repeat and paste? It is value remembering that social community rival Fb already has this auto audio recognition tech built-in into its cellular app, so the thought is not with out precedent. It would not be such a stretch to think about Twitter would need in on it too.
In fact, the music scene just isn’t with out its perils. Rdio lately shut down and it isn’t like Spotify is earning profits both. But when we have been to take Hardi’s “connecting tradition” trace a step additional, maybe Twitter might parlay this Shazam tech past music, and have it acknowledge what TV exhibits or films you are watching too. Once more, there are already apps that may do that (together with Fb), so it would not be shocking if this occurred. And from there, advert alternatives abound.
Hardi has had expertise with headphones earlier than — he was one of many product leads for SMS Audio, particularly the road of audio hardware peddled by rapper 50 Cent. However he needed to make headphones that did greater than that. So he left to discovered Muzik again in 2013 with the intention to, as he put it, to attach the world.
“I do know that feels like a really massive aspiration,” he stated. “I do consider that music is a type of artwork varieties, that has a magical potential to attach individuals. I need to create merchandise that may improve individuals’s lives, that may make it simpler for them to attach.”
“What we’re doing collectively is absolutely going to vary the world,” stated Hardi of the Twitter partnership.
That is a lofty aim. However, for Twitter’s sake, it’d have to do exactly that.