We’re big fans of Music Hack Day events, because they’re such a clear demonstration of how one person plus APIs (application programming interfaces) can equal awesome. Don’t speak geek? Basically, this means that standing on the shoulders of giants works.
If you sat down to make an encyclopedia of just about every band anyone’s ever heard of, and then include free on-demand streams for the majority of them, you’d need thousands of human-hours, millions of dollars, a team of lawyers, and no small amount of luck.
However, if you were to somehow mash Wikipedia against Spotify, you’d get pretty much the same thing. That’s the route wisely chosen by Ching-Wei Chen, who built the Google Chrome extension SpotiPedia at TechCrunch Disrupt Music Hackday in San Francisco over the weekend of September 8-9 (demo video below).
SpotiPedia works like a charm, although there are two gaps: Wikipedia doesn’t list every band on Spotify (what, no Javelin?), and the app can’t parse common-sounding band names (trying to listen to The Fall proved an exercise in futulity).
We’d recommend installing it anyway, if you use the Google Chrome browser, have Spotify installed, and often visit band pages on Wikipedia to find out more about them. Once you get to the Wikipedia page of the artist you want to hear, you simply have to click the icon in the Google Chrome toolbar, and presto, you’re listening to that band. If you’re on a non-Wikipedia page, clicking the icon brings up a search box. However, as with other extensions, this one can access your tabs and browsing activities, unless you have it disabled.