Twitter Adds “Buy” Button, with Musicians as Beta Testers

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 09.08.14 in News

So much music industry activity these days involves listeners’ shift away from buying toward streaming. It’s notable, then, that Twitter has teamed up with an array of musical acts as it tests a new option for purchasing products within the social-media company’s mobile apps.

Twitter today officially announced for the first time that it is adding a “buy” button to its Android and iOS apps. The company said “a small percentage of U.S. users (that will grow over time)” will see the button in “some tweets from our test partners.” The feature allows users to buy directly from the tweet.

In the first round of test partners, the bulk of Twitter handles are recognizable names from the music world. Pharrell, Paramore, Eminem, Death From Above 1979, Ryan Adams, New Pornographers, Brad Paisley, Wiz Khalifa, Soundgarden, Demi Lovato and Megadeth are all involved (see our feature, How Megadeth’s Guitarist Became a J-Pop Superstar). Non-music test partners include GLAAD, DonorsChoose, Global Citizen, and (RED).

Tweets with “buy” buttons don’t have to be paid advertisements, Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser told Wired. The project has been long in the works and dovetails with a broader trend toward social networks making it easier to purchase items, with Facebook reportedly testing a “buy” button of its own. A disabled “buy” button appeared in a tweet as long ago as June, according to Re/code.

Twitter has waded into the music world before. The Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts offer a look at minute-to-minute social media patterns. Last year, Twitter launched and then scrapped its #Music app, a song discovery tool.

“Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS,” according to Twitter’s press release. The move comes less than a week after on-demand streaming service Rdio beefed up its free online radio offering. The prior week, market-research firm Midia Research released a study finding that 34 percent of music-streaming listeners won’t pay for music “because they get all they need for free from YouTube.”