How’s this for crowdsourcing music discovery: Topforty.it turns all of our tweets about songs into a hit list of the music currently popular on Twitter, complete with the ability to play any of the listed tracks. The site currently lists today’s Top 40 as well as a list of all-time favorites, but Topforty.it founder Rezart Bajraktari told me he doesn’t want to stop with simple lists. Instead, he wants to soon launch full-fledged radio stations for various genres, with Twitter playing the role of the DJ.
Topforty’s current incarnation, which launched a week ago at the Velocity Demo day, is actually pretty neat already: It displays Twitter’s top tunes in a highly visual way, and utilizes YouTube embeds to make each and every entry playable. A video player on top of the page even makes it possible to listen to all 40 songs nonstop, or shuffle through them. The site also tells us how many people tweeted about any particular song and how its standing has changed when compared to the previous day.
The idea behind the site may sound a little like We Are Hunted, a service that has been tracking popular songs on P2P services and social networks for quite some time. Bajraktari, however, thinks there are some important differences. “Our ranking and discovery process tends to me much more transparent,” he told me via email. “With We Are Hunted it is hard to figure out how the popularity of the songs is being impacted and how it is changing overtime.”
Bajraktari said Topforty.it is already seeing very long engagement periods, with people keeping the site open for quite some time. He wants to further engage all these eyeballs with the upcoming launch of genre-specific radio stations that turn Twitter into a real-time DJ, with tweets being used to program each and every stream. He explains:
Different streams will exist based on genres at first, and as tweets come into Twitter mentioning songs in these streams they will be added to the queues the users are listening to. All of this will be in real-time as Twitter users tweet away, and of course fully transparent!
Topforty is a pretty neat mashup of Twitter and YouTube, and I’m looking forward to see how the Twitter-as-a-DJ incarnation will look like. But the site is also a good reminder of how much music is now available on YouTube. Granted, I stumbled across the odd cover version, but otherwise, YouTube seems perfectly capable of powering a crowd-sourced music service like this.