Rumors recently began circling of a Beats Music and Twitter partnership. Such a move makes perfect sense and is something I’ve been expecting for some time. To be clear, I have no first hand knowledge, but having spent the past few years immersed in this world while building StageBloc, the move appears obvious.
First, consider the shared employee histories. Ian Rogers, the current CEO of Beats has been a leading voice in the music tech industry for years. Before Beats, Ian was the CEO at Topspin Media. Shortly after Ian left for Beats, Topspin’s SVP of Product and Marketing, Bob Moczydlowsky, also left to become the head of Twitter Music.
A few weeks ago, Topspin was acquired by Beats. Though support for Topspin’s commerce platform, which "isn't (Beat's) core business", is unknown, Beats landed significant industry pedigree and talent. While most of Topspin’s remaining employees moved to Beats, at least one, Nicole St Jean, Topspin’s past VP of Artist Relations, landed at Twitter Music. This was a big win for Twitter.
A Beats + Twitter partnership puts the proverbial band back together. Knowing how close-knit the team was while at Topspin, this makes a lot of sense.
Now, consider Twitter’s (relatively) recent product moves. Since Twitter Cards were first introduced they have matured significantly. Early support for SoundCloud made it easy to stream audio directly in Twitter's network. Ignoring rights issues, which a partnership with Beats would help address, expanding the collection of available music is another obvious step.
The shut down of the standalone Twitter Music app, which failed in part because it lacked direct ties leveraging Twitter as a whole, has usable parts that can now be repurposed elsewhere. I can already imagine a #trendingmusic stream helping me discover new music.
And for the past while, there have been rumblings of network-wide support for commerce. Whether supported natively or through partnerships with third party vendors like Stripe, commerce fits into this story perfectly.
These are all signals that Twitter is positioning itself to make significant moves into music. Beats, on the other hand, is looking to increase distribution and exposure. A Twitter and Beats partnership presents a mutually beneficial solution.
At StageBloc we're building a network for creators, brands and fans. Our goal is to make it incredibly simple to create, promote and sell anything. And though we're just getting started, we've already had a lot of success with Kid Rock, the PIXIES, Eric Church, and Justin Timberlake. By bringing everything together into a single self-serve platform, which we'll be releasing shortly, we can help anyone understand and engage an audience, and own their relationships so they can directly market and sell more effectively.
On the surface, our product vision shares similarities with the future I envision for Twitter. A global network supporting direct to consumer communication and commerce for creatives, brands and their fans. Helping create better experiences for both the creators and the consumers. A Beats partnership helps Twitter strengthen yet another creator vertical.
If you dig deeper, however, what we’re doing at StageBloc is different. We’re driven by the desire to help creators and brands own their relationships, something that typical networks like Twitter and Facebook are historically at odds with.
Through our built-in Fan Clubs, we’re able to help anyone build and engage communities around their own brand, not ours. This increases engagement and reach dramatically. Our internal Dashboards surface data that make it easier to see what’s happening throughout your experience. And our built-in messaging tools, including native support for email marketing, help anyone act on their insights immediately to further increase engagement and sales.
We’ve built StageBloc to be aligned with, not separate from, our users. The more we help creators and brands succeed, the more we succeed ourselves.