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Twitter Music might be dead, but what happened to the Aussies who helped build it?

Monday, 24 March 2014 | By Bronwen Clune
The fat lady sung for Twitter’s music app when it was announced last week it was being pulled from the iTunes app store.


But the announcement made no mention of the successful Aussie music startup that was acquired by Twitter to help develop the app. The acquisition, almost exactly a year ago, saw the popular We Are Hunted site shut down, with some of the team moving to San Francisco to work with Twitter. Details of the deal were kept under wraps.


We Are Hunted allowed users to browse and discover trending music.


It was a dream come true for the Brisbane-based startup, backed by Wotif’s Graeme Wood, which made international headlines at the time.


A note posted on the We Are Hunted website, at the time of the acquisition, read:


“We will continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team. There’s no question that Twitter and music go well together. Artists turn to Twitter first to connect with fans, and people share and discover new songs and albums every day. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on at Twitter.”


Despite the upbeat nature of the post, StartupSmart understands the acquisition effectively dissolved We Are Hunted, with not all the team wanting to make the move to the US and visa issues for others.


It’s the first time Twitter has acquired a moderately successful company and effectively killed it off.


StartupSmart understands from someone close to the project that no development work has happened on the music app for around nine months.


The app linked social media and music, ranking songs that are currently trending on Twitter by various genres.


It was successful on debut, coming in at fifth most downloaded app overall on iTunes and ranking number one in the music category. Things took a nosedive in the following month, when it plummeted to 1486th overall and continued to fade on the charts after that.


While the Twitter music app was not a success, the We Are Hunted acquisition was a great vote of confidence in the local scene, proving Australians can create world class products.


It’s understood some of the We Are Hunted team are still working at Twitter on the core product to improve its music experience, while others will be returning home. Stay tuned.