While a song is playing, you can touch the spinning record icon at the bottom of the screen to bring up a window with a cool turntable animation where you can skip to different parts of the song by touching the edges of the turntable. You also have Pause and Play controls along with a volume slider on the bottom. In the upper right you can spread the word about an artist you like to people who follow you on Twitter with a premade tweet that's ready to share.
You can listen to full-length songs too, but only if you have either the Rdio Unlimited subscription or Spotify Premium, either of which will cost you $9.99 a month. I don't think it's worth it to sign up for either of these services just for use with the Twitter Music app, but if you're already a subscriber, listening to full songs in Twitter Music is a nice bonus. Remember, this app isn't your go-to music player; it's just a place to find new music.
What's the point?
So why did Twitter make this app? I couldn't tell you, but I would guess it is to add a new revenue stream in the hope of taking a piece of the music industry pie. It's a great-looking app with a very intuitive interface, but it doesn't let you choose your songs (like Spotify with a subscription), it doesn't let you create radio stations (like Pandora), and it doesn't let you create playlists of music. Really, it doesn't let you do much of anything beyond find music that is being talked about on Twitter so you can share or buy it.
Make no mistake, I think Twitter Music is a pretty good app for music discovery within the sphere of the Twitter audience, but its usefulness will depend on how serious you are about the social network. Certainly younger kids and hard-core Twitter users might enjoy knowing what music is trending, and they also might enjoy following the connections to other artists, but casual users probably won't see the value. The interface is easy to navigate and points you to the latest music that people are talking about on Twitter, but the app is not going to replace iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Slacker Radio, or any other dedicated music player. In other words, I think it's great at what it does, but what it does isn't that great.
- Similar model: $