Spotify unveils API to create music apps
Spotify has added apps to its music streaming service, allowing users to view lyrics, find gigs and read reviews.
The music streaming service has opened up an API to let developers create HTML5 apps that “truly integrate” inside Spotify, CEO Daniel Ek said.
Spotify showed off a collection of initial apps, including one from Rolling Stone featuring reviews and music playlists, and another offering lyrics for singing along. LastFM will also have an app, while another from SongKick suggests gigs to attend.
Ek said users had asked for such features in the streaming service, but there was only so much “Spotify itself can do”.
You need a better product than piracy to get people paying again
Ek said he was looking forward to being “surprised by developers” about what apps they create. However, developers are barred from creating apps offering music downloads.
Apps will be available whether users are on free accounts or paid subscriptions. The first round of apps are for the desktop only, but Ek said the platform would eventually extend to mobile devices.
To start, the apps are all free to users and there’s no ability to charge at the moment, but Ek stressed the system was in early stages and could evolve to allow that in the future.
The platform will be open to any developers, but apps will have to be approved first. It wasn’t immediately clear when the apps would be available to users.
The apps follow a move earlier this year to integrate with Facebook. Since then, and after extending the service’s availability to the US, Spotify has grown to 10m users, 2.5m of which are paying subscribers.
Ek said integration with the social networking site meant users were more like to keep using Spotify – and more likely to pay.
Spotify now has 15m songs available, and is adding 20,000 a day, but Ek didn’t specifically address the labels that have recently pulled their songs from the streaming service. “We pay every time someone plays a song, and we feel that’s a great value… we don’t feel it’s onerousness terms,” he said.
Ek added that 500m people listen to music online, and many weren’t doing it legally. “You need a better product than piracy to get people paying again,” Ek said, noting CDs have survived because they’re portable and allow easy sharing.
“We want music to be like water, available everywhere, and available seamlessly,” he added.