The pathology of Silicon Valley is that the winners have so much ego invested in pretending that it isn’t. It’s hard for people who pride themselves on their exceptional smartness to acknowledge the fact that they are much luckier than they are smart.
I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.
There is a new article about how Twitter is going to shutdown its #Music app daily, but I hope it’s just a misinformed rumor. An app that is firmly plugged into the Twitter ecosystem has a chance to have a real impact on how people interact with music.
The current app needs a lot more work and thought to get there.
An almost complete lack of context: Most of the views in the app are grids of images. They offer so little information that it feels as if you are in a musician-themed version of the Photos app. It’s a classic music app problem (rivaled only by the “Girl in headphones on app landing page” trap): the artist images look so good in an interface mockup that you forget they contain no information (hat tip, Z). The #Music app does look polished and beautiful.
Showing you the username of the band inside the grid doesn’t help either: they are not things you can quickly recognize. I know it’s a Twitter app, but people know musicians by their artist names and very rarely by usernames. Even if you do find a musician you recognize, there is no way to view what’s happening with them in the app (or why they are in a given chart, new album? pitchfork feature?).
Even the #NowPlaying view was not spared: the avatars of users who tweeted tracks only appear briefly as you scroll in the list. It looks pretty when it happens, but this is an important piece of information that is thrown away.
Confusing, similar-sounding charts: Superstars and Popular are for some reason separate charts. Unearthed, Hunted and Emerging are also separate, and the difference is never explained. The subtitles in the chart views have confusing copy (what is the difference between “The best new emerging music” and “Hidden talent found in the tweets”?). Charts only work if listeners can understand (even if very broadly) what they mean, or what the people creating them stand for.
My pet peeve, of course, is that the Hunted chart says it’s based on music from blogs, but there aren’t any links to blogs, or even Twitter accounts of blogs. What’s the point?
Forced sharing: The app forces you to tweet in order to add songs to your personal #nowplaying list, but yet does not import any of your past activity to deliver any immediate value. An implementation using Twitter favorites where #nowplaying tweets are optional could go a long way. It’s absurd that this page, built as as tiny side feature of Hype Machine, is more useful that many of the #NowPlaying views.
No fucking SoundCloud support: I can imagine there are business reasons that got in the way here, but shipping an app like this without SoundCloud support is pointless. It’s where the Twitter audience is voraciously looking for new things - whatever is left on Spotify and Rdio is yesterday’s news. If it was SoundCloud who refused to provide support, that’s just disappointing in a different way.
There are more issues that impacted the usage of the app, and I hope thoughtful people are given the time to solve them. I’d like it to be an app I use as much as Twitter itself, and they’d probably like that too (or maybe they don’t care, and this was just an expensive “Suggested Users List” to get more musicians onto the platform).
But the 24-year-old Mike Bloomberg, in 2014, couldn’t come to New York and find a cheap apartment anymore. Or if he did, it would be with six other guys.
I don’t know, but my guess is that if you and I were sitting around the table back 40 years ago, you would have said the same thing. It’s like the way we think the music that we have is okay, but the next generation’s music is crap. “I could never get into that school today”—that’s all bullshit. Things are changing, but I don’t subscribe to that.
– From the New York Magazine’s Bloomberg interview. Man is even insightful about music.