EMI Helps Developers Navigate Building Apps for Music Industry

Kin Lane
Feb. 15 2012, 02:00PM EST

The music industry is a very attractive area for developers build web and mobile apps, because of the wide appeal of music in all ages and markets. There are 164 music APIs in our directory. For a developer, building an app isn’t hard, but making sure all your music, lyrics and other content is properly licensed can get trickier.

EMI wanted to help developers easily access and license their music catalog, so naturally they started with an API, but after realizing the scope of planning, deploying and managing an API--EMI decided to partner with The Echo Nest, an existing music development platform, who already had the necessary infrastructure and experience to properly deploy and manage the EMI music catalog API.

Using the Echo Nest API, developers can now access thousands of audio tracks from multiple artists, as well as broader content like audio, video, artwork and photos in the EMI catalog. This decision left EMI to do what they do best--guide developers around the business of the music industry, ensuring developers build the best apps possible, aware of the legal requirements of the music industry, and also market their applications effectively in a very competitive industry.

Developers looking to build an application around the EMI Premium Content Sandbox can propose their app ideas to EMI and The Echo Nest. Developer proposals are reviewed by both groups, and if a proposal is taken forward, The Echo Nest provides the APIs and technical platform, while EMI handles the tasks of clearing the necessary rights and marketing the application, with revenue shared between the developer, EMI, artists, Echo Nest, music publishers and any other rights holders.

With a lot of bad publicity around high profile RIAA lawsuits, the image has spread that record labels are not interested in encourage developer innovation around their catalogs. Something that clearly isn’t true--it is in the best interest of record labels to not just open up access to their catalogs, but all assist developers in navigating the complex areas of licensing and distributing applications.

The EMI and Echo Nest partnership doesn’t just reflect the future of music APIs, but also the proper investment in developers, to make sure they are successful in building music industry applications that can generate more revenue for high profile artists, as well as shed light on lesser known artists in  record labels catalog and archives.

Kin Lane I am a programmer and entrepreneur, with a focus on the business of APIs. I study how APIs are changing the business landscape, and the rise of API driven developer ecosystems. I share my insights by blogging on API Evangelist and ProgrammableWeb, and put into action as API evangelist for CityGrid.

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