The big digital music news of this season is clearly that Spotify and other music service integrated with Facebook to create something like a legal version of Napster, where friends can listen to what their friends are listening to without a lot of friction (now with more privacy controls).
“You can embed Spotify inside your iOS app now,” explained Spotify developer community manager Andrew Mager at NYC MusicTechnology Meetup earlier this week.
Even if you can’t code, and don’t want to learn, the Spotify API can help you. It means any developer can build new interfaces, social features, or whatever else they want on top of Spotify, and you can play them on your computer, today. Or, if you’re a premium subscriber, you can play the iPhone apps people will build with this soon — without paying again for the right to hear that music.
Like I said, this is a big deal, and it will only get bigger.
Mager, who just moved to Brooklyn from San Francisco, was one of the more-anticipated speakers at NYC MusicTechnology Meetup earlier this week. He used his time in part to take us on a tour of the most promising apps to be created on top of Spotify (in order of presentation):
“It’s… music discovery. Type in an artist and it should generate a playlist for you. It’s working. You can basically drag [the playlist] into Spotify and play it.”
“Somebody built a Chrome extension that scans the web for music when you’re browsing content, and lets you add it to Spotify pretty easily.”
With this app installed, you can use the little white remote control that came with your MacBook Pro to control Spotify playback from across the room.
“Spo.tl is kind of like a URL shortener. If you have a URL from Spotify, the album’s website doesn’t look so good — it’s just a black page. This actually shows you the album, so you can dig into the songs better.” He’s right.
“Fuck Yeah Spotify uses Twitter to find the most popular Spotify content.” It’s true — we just used it to listen to the new Justice E.P., which is trending today.
“This one’s a couple of weeks old. It’s another discovery app — you type in an artist and it will try to find some similar artists.” Out of those, it creates a radio station. “You can vote it up and down. Basically, it remote controls the Spotify player.” (EchoFi uses an API from The Echo Nest, publisher of Evolver.fm.)
“It emails you when music comes out.” This is crucial, because just because an album has been released doesn’t necessarily mean it’s on Spotify yet.
“I like this one. It integrates with Last.fm and finds all the music you’ve listened to recently (as scrobbled by Last.fm) and creates a playlist.” So why is it called Stalkify? Because you can enter someone else’s user name to create a playlist of what they’ve been scrobbling.
Like a couple of the other web apps mentioned above, this one creates Spotify playlists when you enter an artist’s name. It’s available as a web app and an iOS app.
Metafy for iOS
No, it doesn’t scour Spotify for heavy metal; this iOS app uses ratings data from MetaCritic to present critically-acclaimed albums on Spotify (sort of like Evolver.fm fave Pitchify).
Mager also rattled off the latest Spotify stats:
- Spotify has about 20 million free and paid users, two million of whom joined following Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek’s announcement at Facebook F8 that the company would share listening activity through the Ticker, Timeline, and music sections on Facebook.
- It’s active in eight countries “with definitely more coming.”
- It has 15 million songs and counting, all of which can appear in these apps without their developers negotiating (or failing to negotiate) licenses with thousands of record labels and publishers.