Top 10 Music APIs: Spotify, Last.fm, Rdio & Soundcloud

The APIs that made it to our Top 10 Music APIs list offer a wide range of capabilities--from radio stations to user-powered audio-sharing, The APIs also scored well against a diverse set of criteria:

  • Popularity 
  • Potential 
  • Documentation
  • Ease of use
  • Functionality

We also considered the search-engine popularity of each API, based on Google Trends.

SoundCloud

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/sound cloud
Provider: SoundCloud
API Documentation URL: http://developers.soundcloud.com/

The YouTube of audio, SoundCloud is a social audio platform for recording, sharing and promoting self-created sounds. SoundCloud API provides developers with the means to integrate audio authoring and sharing via Restful API as well as mobile SDKs.

We were very impressed with SoundCloud's documentation and scope of API referencing. Providing clear documentation, Sharing Kits for apps, an embedded player for Web apps, as well as a dedicated iOS SDK, you truly get a smorgasbord of references. Users also get live API testing in-page, which is a benchmark for how all documentation should be.

We expect fierce competition with Last.fm. With solid traction and great documentation, SoundCloud has a great recipe for a high-calibre API.

Link: Google Trends

Last.fm

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/last.fm
Provider: Last.fm
API Documentation URL: http://www.last.fm/api/
Last.fm delivers a Restful API exposing a comprehensive database of albums, artists, titles, playlists, events and users via JSON and XML. The digital radio station provides an impressive toolset for the developing community.

Documentation is simple enough, and the vendor also provides a Scrubbr for iOS and Android as part of its SDK offering, which is nice. It lacks a sandbox mode, as well as live on-page API testing, but with a clear and comprehensive developers page, we won’t complain too much
.

Link: Google Trends

Spotify

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/spotify-web
Provider: Spotify
API Documentation URL: https://developer.spotify.com

Music-giant Spotify has released its new developer portal and deprecated its old one, and it’s certainly a welcome move. The new hub provides not only a dynamic Web API, but also Android and iOS SDKs and an interactive API console.

The API is still in beta, and we expect Spotify to accelerate its efforts and increase developer engagement. With the platform already one of the most popular among music users, we will likely see Spotify’s API continue to grow as it gets into the hands of more developers.

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Link: Google Trends

GrooveShark

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/grooveshark
Provider: GrooveShark 
API Documentation URL: http://developers.grooveshark.com/docs/public_api/v3/

GrooveShark has been around for quite some time, and while it doesn’t have the glitz and popularity of Spotify, it still has a bit of a cult following. Further, it provides a fully functional and all-encompassing API for its developer community.

GrooveShark's documentation leaves much to be desired, but it can be used to get the basic job done. No app SDKs or kits are available, unfortunately, so it still needs to improve in a few areas.
 

Link: Google Trends

Beats Music

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/beats-music 
Provider: Beats Music
API Documentation URL:
https://developer.beatsmusic.com/docs

Beats Music was famously acquired by Apple in 2014, and at this point it is unclear how it will integrate into Apple’s ecosystem. But for the past year, the Spotify-like subscription service of Beats Music has been extremely popular amongs music lovers,

Of the subscription-music services, we found Beats Music to have succinct, easy-to-use and functional documentation, with the ability to use its playground to test API methods. Beats Music offer additional SDK libraries for mobile clients, as well as a a tutorials section.

Whether its acquisition service will propel Beats's popularity in the next few years remains to be seen, but it certainly will be a business-decision as to how it ventures as opposed to a technical or functional one.

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Link: Google Trends

Rdio

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/rdio 
Provider: Rdio
API Documentation URL:
http://www.rdio.com/developers/

Rdio, another subscription-based music platform, similar to SoundCloud and Spotify, was launched in 2010. To boost developer-community engagement, rdio provides a Restful API for Web apps, as well as Android and iOS SDK libraries for native app support. Additional Web support includes Web Playback and How-to Guides.

Our analytics show API participation is not significant, but it does have a lot of potential,as the user base grows, for the development community to be more active. Documentation is quite reasonable in terms of quality and coverage, but not excellent. 

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Link: Google Trends

Blip.fm

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/blip.fm
Provider: Blip.fm
API Documentation URL: http://api.blip.fm/

Blip.fm is last.fm’s primary rival, allowing users to share and DJ stations with friends, and to broadcast to the public. It also allows others to program and contribute to one’s playlist.

Blip.fm exposes an API that is still in private beta. Documentation is basic, with PHP and Actionscript examples. We should expect more in terms of API coverage, which right now is also average. Blip may struggle to maintain traction moving forward.
 

 

Link: Google Trends

SHOUTcast radio

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/shoutcast-radio
Provider: Winamp
API Documentation URL: http://wiki.shoutcast.com/wiki/SHOUTcast_Radio_Directory_API

SHOUTcast provides with a directory of more than 32,000 online radio stations. Its API offering interacts with database metadata, from properties such as popularity, genre and what is currently playing.

Their documentation ... well, what can we say about it? It’s a one-page wiki showing all the methods. And functionality-wise, it's bare minimum.

 

Link: Google Trends

Eventful

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/Eventful
Provider: Eventful
API Documentation URL: http://api.eventful.com/

This isn’t strictly a music API, but more accurately an event-broadcasting platform. We have decided nevertheless to include this in our category because of the number of live concerts and musical events that are hosted on Eventful. In saying that, it is the largest repository of events world-wide.

Eventful's Restful API exposes its entire database, built upon an open platform and allowing developers to leverage Eventful’s data, features and functionality, in either XML, JSON or YAML format. You are able to search for venues and concerts.

Eventful's documentation is sufficient, and, while nothing spectacular in terms of scope and clarity, it has a vibrant developer community mailing list and a tutorials section that is quite informative.

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Link: Google Trends

8Tracks

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/8tracks
Provider: 8Tracks
API Documentation URL: http://8tracks.com/developers

8Tracks is a crowd-sourced playlist creation music platform, providing a human touch to recommending playlists based on user music genre preferences. The playlist duration is at least 30 minutes, or 8 tracks worth of music, and an API exposes hooks for developers to find and list mixes, associated users of mixes, and like mixes or tracks. The API also allows for 8track mixes to be played through Websites or apps, via the Playback API.

Documentation is fairly basic--no bells-and-whistles, with a small API user-base. 
 

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Link: Google Trends

Doron Katz A keen passion for emerging technologies, practices and methodologies, Doron embraces the vision of lean development with continuous customer development. Consultant for various startups, as a Project and Product Manager, with a mobile engineering background in iOS, and over 10 years of professional web development experience.

Comments

Comments(1)

georgwaechter@gmail.com

A missing music related API is sonicAPI.com. It offers professional grade audio technology that can easily be integrated into your web or phone app.