Today The Echo Nest announced it has integrated APIs with Spotify, which might not sound like much to the average user, but it’s music to a developer’s ears. You can think of The Echo Nest sort of like Spotify’s secret sauce; it’s an algorithm-based music recommendation engine that powers Spotify Radio.
“It’s literally based on the science of the song,” The Echo Nest’s director of communications and operations Elissa Barrett told us late last year. “If you pick a track, [The Echo Nest] will then pick similar tracks based on the beat, the tempo, the pitch, the era, the genre […] Basically, we’ve mapped the Spotify universe of song IDs to The Echo Nest’s ID structure, through our API, therefore any song in the Spotify catalogue generates a radio stream of relevant songs.”
And now that Spotify is solidifying itself as a music app platform, The Echo Nest will be a part of that creative process. “The Echo Nest is integrating Spotify IDs into a resolution service we call Rosetta Stone,” the team says via its blog. “This unique technology translates song and artist identifiers between music content and data APIs including Twitter, Facebook, Lyricfind, MusixMatch, 7Digital, EMI, Free Music Archive, MusicBrainz, Rdio and Seatwave, and also makes it easy to leverage The Echo Nest’s core music discovery and personalization features within a Spotify app.”
Thank goodness. If there’s anything missing from the Spotify app platform, it’s better recommendation technology. There currently aren’t many options in the available catalogue for predictive music finders; the Last.fm app is arguably the most capable in this regard, but it’s fairly shallow. In my personal experience with the app, I’ll get about four or five good album or track selections and then the service just offers up past releases from artists I’ve been listening to. It’s not really a reliable way to discover music based off your recent Spotify activity.
Spotify’s app ecosystem effort is remarkable mostly because it’s exclusive – there’s no competitor really trying to challenge what Spotify is doing. That said, the app roll out has been slow and limited. Hopefully the integration with The Echo Nest API gives developers the nudge (or motivation) needed to invest their time and creativity in such a new platform.