Tim Heineke, co-founder of Dutch start-up Twones, said to Mashable, “music is moving away from the file and onto the browser.” (http://mashable.com/2009/09/17/twones/) The popularity of Last.fm, the iLike Facebook application and the #musicmonday hashtag topping Twitter’s trending topics every week are great indicators of this…but how can we fully integrate the personal playlist with social networking?
New start-up Twones (pronounced like ‘tunes’) is trying to bridge the gap and continue the evolution of integrating music into social media. Twones has been described as a Delicious or FriendFeed for streaming music, and even the musical version of Twitter. Using a Firefox/Internet Explorer add-on (support for Safari and Chrome reportedly coming soon), Twones combines 25 music services into one interface. The main attraction is it’s a way to bookmark and organize music from sites like Last.fm, MySpace, Hype Machine, YouTube and various streaming sites.
ReadWriteWeb (http://www.readwriteweb.com/readwritestart/2009/09/twones-delicious-for-streaming.php) describes it as, “an audio footprint of where you’ve been and once you install the Firefox toolbar, it will also track where you’re going. Users are given the opportunity to bookmark their favorite music on the sites that they already use. From here, file links are automatically created within Twones and listeners can revisit the same bookmarks for streaming playback.” Users can comment, recommend and favorite songs, as well as share the songs and playlists over Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.
Since Twones is still in private beta, what the site lacks is the “social” aspect. However, once a community is formed users can “follow” (http://lifehacker.com/5361795/twones-tracks-music-youre-listening-to-anywhere-you-listen-to-it) each other and see a list of the tracks they’ve listened to along with where they found them. As well as following friends or record labels there’s also the option to browse through the most played music of the day, the week or even of all time. “On Air” and “Popular” (http://www.geeks.co.uk/7778-twones-twitter-for-music) sections direct you to what other members are listening to presently or by popularity; the “popular” section could become a more definite ranking list for the industry to study as it’ll include popular sites Hype Machine and YouTube.
The most obvious competition for Twones is Last.fm. Last.fm has already claimed a huge brand on friending users and groups which has contributed to an intricate network. What separates Twones from Last.fm however, is rather than requiring you to install a plug-in for each desktop application, Twones covers them all through its extension, which could draw the less computer literate types (http://musically.com/blog/2009/04/23/twones-reveals-new-features-in-run-up-to-launch/). The bookmarked tracks not only come from more places but the links are important for the social aspect as users can track what others are listening to without having to leave the Twones site.
ReadWriteWeb (http://www.readwriteweb.com/readwritestart/2009/09/twones-delicious-for-streaming.php) also reported that the Twones’ co-founder Heineke said, “In the next month Twones will release a real time activity gadget where users can embed their playlists into social networking sites and blogs.” “Once this happens, users can listen to whatever they like and the tracker will automatically update sidebars, home pages and Facebook walls. Other future plans include expanding the number of services that Twones pulls from and exploring the possibility of importing 3rd party playlists created prior to Twones toolbar installation.” If they can pull all of this off, the site pulls a real chance at competing against most new music start-ups.
The impressive thing about Twones is its complexity and potential. Back in April (http://venturebeat.com/2009/09/28/twones-rolls-up-25-music-services-into-one/)when it first was in private beta, reports were speculating a June or July launch, but the company decided to push it back to sometime in the first quarter of 2010 to give them time to continue their developments. It’s good to see they’re really developing their brand and it’ll be quite interesting to see how it all kicks off.