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Spotify Cranks Up the Volume With New App Platform

Spotify Cranks Up the Volume With New App Platform

Rolling Stone, Billboard and Songkick are among Spotify's initial partners in the launch of its new app platform. The Internet music service is allowing third parties to design apps to integrate with its system and designing new in-house features that add in new social elements.

By Richard Adhikari
11/30/11 12:22 PM PT

Online music service Spotify on Wednesday announced that it's launching a series of integrated apps from various partners.

These include apps from entities like Rolling Stone and Billboard and Songkick.

"We've turned Spotify into this platform," company CEO and founder Daniel Ek told an audience in New York.

In addition to teaming up with partners, Spotify is building new features in-house and is seeking developers to create new apps.

"We want music to be like water -- available everywhere, available seamlessly," Ek said.

What Spotify's Doing

The Spotify platform consists of an extensible architecture above which there's a JavaScript API (application programming interface). HTML 5 apps will sit above the API.

Ek introduced what he called the first generation of apps on Wednesday.

Spotify will also add a section called the "App Finder" on the left side of its landing page, Ek said.

Further, Spotify is building new features in-house. These include a "favorite friends" feature, as well as one that lets users see what friends are adding to their playlists and listen to the same track along with their friends.

"We have a lot more in the works," Ek said. "We believe our developers are going to deliver amazing new apps in the Spotify platform."

Whether Spotify can convince app devs to create products for its platform is iffy.

"Things are pretty competitive out there in terms of attracting developers," Carl Howe, director of anywhere consumer research at the Yankee Group, pointed out. "It's not a case of build an API and they'll come."

Third-Party Spotify Apps

Ek demoed four apps, including the one from Rolling Stone.

The Rolling Stone app lists albums recommended by the magazine's staff, as well as songs and playlists.

Rolling Stone will create playlists daily now instead of every two weeks, Cofounder and Publisher Jann Wenner said at the launch.

Another app, from music community Last.fm, lets members share their songs with each other, see what other members are listening to and display album covers.

Hovering over an album cover in both the Rolling Stone and Last.fm apps will trigger them to play one of the album's tracks.

Yet another app, from Songkick, shows users what concerts are playing in town. It uses their playlists as the base to recommend concerts they might be interested in and displays the locations of those concerts. The location display includes a Google Map.

Sidling Away From Facebook?

Some of the third-party apps offer the same features available on Spotify for Facebook. So do the new Spotify features Ek discussed. Currently, the music service and the social network are relatively entwined. But could Spotify be aiming to separate from Facebook, which Ek told the audience Wednesday "has really helped us with our mission of taking Spotify worldwide"?

"We don't know yet," the Yankee Group's Howe told TechNewsWorld.

However, while Spotify is "for now looking at Facebook as their largest engine of growth," evolving into a new platform, adding apps and the new in-house features "open up the door for them to do so," Howe added.


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