The announcement that Spotify is transforming itself (at least in part) to an application platform has been grabbing some serious attention in recent days. For those who missed it, the basic idea is that developers will now be able to create HTML5 apps that integrate into the Spotify platform. Wired sums it up well:
“App creators will be able to tap into information about what the user is listening to, as well as the contents of their playlists and the ability to create new playlists. For example, an app might be able to display lyrics or reviews while a song is playing, or generate a list of concerts near the user based on the bands that they play the most, complete with links to buy tickets. It could even recommend you new music.”
While I think it’s great that anyone is using HTML5 to create new services and experiences, I’m in two minds about how developers will look at this.
I can see what’s in it for Spotify. A whole bunch of talented people are going to help them extend their service and enhance the user experience. So far, so good. I’m less sure about what’s really in it for developers.
Despite having 10 million or so users, Spotify is still a closed network so any app is essentially limited by how successful they are in attracting more listeners. Then there’s the question about how developers can monetise their work (check out this article on Techdirt for more on this). Maybe I’m missing something though – at Music Hack Day London this week, over a quarter of the apps created used Spotify’s platform.
Putting these doubts aside, one of the great things about the announcement is that it should bring new developers with new ideas into the HTML5 community. With these platforms opening up their APIs, it’s now easier than ever to create new applications and services. On that level, I can’t wait to see what people come up with.
What do you think? If you’re a developer, what makes you interested in writing for platforms like Spotify? Alternatively, what’s holding you back?
BTW, Spotify did create a nice little video to announce their new platform. Check it out below.