Thursday, September 20, 2012

APIs: Advantages and Advancements

What's an API?

Many of you may be familiar with the concept of an Application Programming Interface, or API. For those that aren't, here's the basic idea: one company that controls a certain set of data provides to 3rd parties access to this data for specific uses. In practice, this allows 3rd party developers to create their own unique applications using the data they've been given access to. Those who control the data benefit from the extended distribution of this data. 3rd party developers benefit by having legitimate access to in-demand data sets upon which they can showcase and exploit their own engineering talents. And consumer benefit by have more access to more creative applications that make their lives easier and more enjoyable.

How are they used in music?

APIs are used across the technology industry. They have been gaining notable traction with regard to digital music over the last few years as owners and licensees of music catalogs invite developers to create applications that use their music in new and interesting ways.

At the end of last year, on-demand music streaming service Spotify announced the launch of its API platform, allowing "companies to build services and features atop Spotify's 15-million song music database". More recently, direct-to-fan music platform Topspin and the digital arm of music trade association NARM each announced new API initiatives of their own.

Topspin's "Artist Link API":
Topspin's "ArtistLink API" allows developers to tap into the metadata, media and offers enabled by the thousands of artists (ranging from up and coming indie acts to some of the biggest stars on earth) utilizing the Topspin platform. Learn more at:'s (NARM) "Music API Directory":
The "Music API Directory" from "gathers information on companies that provide APIs or other technology, features, and services that are essential to music-app developers of all kinds, including artists, labels, brands, and more. This information includes music-specific categories such as lyric providers, music identification technology, and playlist and recommendation services, as well as non-music categories such as social networking integration, location data, and game development. All this data is displayed in one centralized, searchable location, allowing developers to quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for and speeding the creation of new music apps." It's a one-stop shop for music-related APIs!

Read the full press release from

Search the Music API Directory here:

Other Coverage:
Read Billboard's coverage of these announcements:

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