Just a rumor last week, Twitter today officially announced the launch of Twitter Music, its new standalone music service that will change the way people discover music.

Available on desktop and iOS, the free service uses Twitter activity like tweets and engagement to locate and surface the most popular tracks and artists. It also brings artists’ music-related Twitter activity front and center — something both emerging and existing musicians can benefit from.

Twitter Music lets fans see songs that have been tweeted by artists and people they follow on the platform. They can also use the app to listen to the music other people follow. For example, if you search for the rapper Wiz Khalifa, as an example, you’ll be able to see the artists he’s following — a great way to encourage better discovery.

The service is broken down into four tabs: Suggested, #NowPlaying, Popular, and Emerging. “Suggested” recommends songs and artists by pulling in Twitter follower data, including musical artists that people follow as well as musicians that the people they follow are following. Just as it looks, “#NowPlaying” aggregates music that is tweeted out by followers using the #NowPlaying hashtag.

The last two tabs, “Popular” and “Emerging,” pull in information from We Are Hunted’s platform — which was acquired by Twitter last year — to determine what’s trending and to highlight up-and-coming artists. By default, songs playing will pop up as a preview in iTunes, but if logged in through either Spotify or Rdio, the song can be listened to in full on those services.

For entertainment brands and agencies with clients in the industry, Twitter Music could become a valuable resource for discovery. People share and discover new songs and albums every day. According to Twitter, many of the most followed accounts on the service are musicians, and half of all users follow at least one musician. Twitter Music gives you an opportunity to surface the songs people are tweeting about.

Currently the service is available in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be downloaded from the App Store or accessed through the web version. Twitter plans to bring Twitter Music to Android as well as more countries in the future.

[Via: TechCrunch, Image credit: Christian Holmér]