Instagram is hoping to capitalise on the popularity of musicians to drive further growth across the photo-sharing app.
The company, which social media behemoth Facebook owns, launched its first account dedicated to a single subject on Thursday – @music.
The account will act as a springboard to the company’s blog, where a team of about 12 freelance journalists will profile musicians, instrument makers and others in the recording industry.
“We see ourselves as treasure hunters,” Instagram music editor Alex Suskind told Fairfax Media.
“It’s not just about curating photos, although there is a lot of that.
“It’s also about interviewing these people who are sharing their moments on Instagram and highlighting what they are doing in a visually creative way.”
Music is the most photographed topic on Instagram, accounting for about 25 per cent of the app’s most popular accounts.
For example, 30.8 million of Instagram’s 300 million users follow Beyonce, while Arianna Grande has 30 million and Selena Gomez 28.9 million.
The account will publish six posts a week, grouped into series under various hashtags including #LocallySourced for unsigned artists, #DoubleTrack for artists interest outside music and #15SecondLessons for videos on how to perform anything from riffs to drumbeats.
It will also feature posts on the Instragram blog ranging from 750 to 1000 words. Mr Suskind said the account was not designed to disrupt music magazines such as Rolling Stone.
He said the account was more of a “DVD extras” designed to add value and drive further engagement from Instagram users.
“We’re not looking to disrupt the music journalism industry. Our goal is to share a unique perspective.
“It’s really about driving engagement.”
Its small editorial team will scour millions of accounts to find its profile subjects, which Mr Suskind said would range from signed and unsigned artists, session musicians and instrument makers to the “most passionate fans”.
“That’s going to fun and a challenge and why we are kind of unofficial treasure hunters.”
Australian Recording Industry Association chief executive Dan Rosen said he was yet to see the full details of how Instragram would use the account, but praised the initiative.
“It’s a demonstration of the power music to push the social media conversation,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see what they will do, but certainly we are supportive of any platforms that can spread the word of how great music is and how talented our local musicians are”.
Instagram, which Facebook bought for $US1 billion ($1.25 billion) in 2012, has trebled its users in the past two years, rising from 100 million in February 2013 to 300 million last December.
The launch of @music comes after Facebook posted its slowest growth in quarterly revenue last week, while higher spending on research and development ate into profits.
It attributed the slowdown to a strong US dollar. Sales rose 42 per cent to $US3.54 billion, when they could have risen 49 per cent without the currency effects, Facebook said.
It also warned of heavy investments in 2015 as it steps up efforts to expand a collection of products that include messaging service WhatsApp, Instagram and virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift.
As a result, Facebook’s operating expenses rose 83 per cent in the first quarter as research and development costs jumped 133 per cent and marketing and sales spending nearly doubled.
But Facebook’s user growth on its main application remains strong. It now has 1.44 billion monthly active users, compared with 1.39 billion in the fourth quarter and analysts’ estimates of 1.43 billion.
with Bloomberg, Reuters