D.I.Y.

ArtistData Opens Platform To Outside Developers

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: For more than a year ArtistData has created tools that help artists from the smallest garage band to the roster of labels like Universal Republic and Rounder enter  data once and spread it across multiple platforms from MySpace to concert databases.

But understanding that they've solved only one piece of the artist puzzle, ArtistData is smartly opening its API to outside developers who can now create services that integrate with AritstData and its 10,000 users.  Phase one is to attract the developer community and in an exclusive interview founder Brenden Mulligan shared what else we can expect.

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Q
:
What kinds of apps do you see being developed with the new open platform?

We're talking with developers and companies who will be building all kinds of artist services on top of the platform. That includes fan communication tools like mailing lists and fan clubs, data analytics tools, sales tools for music, merch and tickets, and a lot more. I think people will get really creative with the platform, which is exciting.

Q: Are any outside developers currently using the API?

We are wrapping up the API now, so have just started showing it to select partners. The full public API release will be coming in the next few months.

Q:  What advantages to developers are there for using your API  beyond the large community of artists? 

Besides the community of artists with instant access to the application, there are two big advantages.

First is the existing artist focused content management system. Instead of building their own content management interface and getting artists to enter data into one more place, they can build on top of a common dashboard lots of other apps are using. This should not only save them a whole lot of development time, but will be one less barrier to entry when trying to convince artists to use their service.

Second is that we will provide a complete e-commerce solution. Developers won't have to build their own, get their own merchant account, and all the other headaches that comes with accepting payments (again cutting down on time-to-market). Plus, because artists can subscribe to their apps through the ArtistData, they wont have to enter their credit card again for each purchase, which will increase conversion rates.

Q: Can we assume that ArtistData itself will continue to evolve its own services?

We will see. My goal has always been for ArtistData to make artists as effective and efficient as possible. Providing them with a platform to access high quality tools (developed by separate, dedicated teams) in a convenient and central dashboard is very compelling to me. I see ArtistData's role transitioning to providing and managing that environment, instead of trying to build a lot for it. Someone needs to sit neutrally in the middle, and I think ArtistData is the right company to do it.

Q: Is there anything that you'd like to add?

ArtistData wants to help bands efficiently use the great tools that hundreds of developers are building for them. We also want to help those smart and focused development teams get their app in front of artists. We think this is the best way, and we're still finalizing some of the specifics. Ultimately, we are building this platform for the artist and development community, so we want them to help us shape it. Anyone who wants to be a part of that should contact us.

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8 Comments

  1. same old same old..there’s an abundance of tools out there already. Unless there are fresh, innovative and compelling apps on offer then this will just add to the DIY clutter.

  2. Will,
    We’re hoping to make sense of that clutter and let the best apps rise to the top. It’s a huge challenge, but our goal is to make things better not worse. We think it’s worth trying to do, and would love any feedback on your ideas to not just add to the clutter.
    Brenden

  3. Brendan,
    I’m not an artist any longer and don’t use these tools but I believe Topspin are going a step further by offering marketing based courses etc to educate artists as this really is what divides the men from the boys. Beyond just providing apps I hope these developers offer indepth advice and tips on how to utilize these tools to best effect. There is a science involved here and in most cases it requires experts (branding, direct marketing etc) to best exploit them. Your average backwater band will be clueless..
    Still, apps to sell merc, concert tickets, engage with fans to me is a big yawn as there are so many out there.

  4. I think Artist Data is a perfect place for these tools.
    Yes, there are plenty tools available, as Will said.
    But with a good content management system, being able to have all purchases come through a single place, and having the tools (really, they need to be flexible!) in ONE user interface is incredibly valuable.
    As far as I see it, TopSpin are the only company that offers all of this (ReverbN kind of, but their widgets are slow and not exactly aesthetically appealing [yes, this matters]). TopSpin seem quite set on there ways, and a bit of competition always sparks innovation.
    I think this is a great thing.

  5. Brenden I hope you read this!
    One thing that is concerning: it sounds as though you are having many developers creating each tool. This is great but:
    It should be pointed out that each tool (individually) is available already.
    What is very rare, is the ability to use those tools together and being able to integrate them!
    Widgets with the following things I as an artist would find useful:
    1) easily coloured/altered to fit well with one’s website. If you use something like “powered by artist data”, it should be subtle.
    2) download in exchange for
    a) email
    b) free
    c) $
    [bandcamp does an excellent job of this]
    3) comments and hearts/likes
    [soundcloud has a great player for this, but none of the download in exchange for]
    4) I haven’t seen this, it would be really nice:
    If one has a single (song) that one gave for free download, but there is bonus content (including file types other than audio! example, photos/videos) … the bonus content to be available in exchange for (‘x’ the artist chooses).
    So fan could download song for free.
    If he/she loves it, wants the bonus content, he clicks ‘bonus material’ and gives ‘x’ (say, an email address) and downloads a multi-media folder.
    Topspin does have something similar.
    But again, the power is having everything in one place. One central hub where the artist can manage everything.
    Creative types are very, well, creative. Make the tools easily customisable, centralised and I think you’re well on your way to becoming a big player for artists.

  6. Matt,
    Thank you so much for your comments.. All great stuff. I totally agree with you about a lot of the integration issues, and we are continually going to work with these partners to make the experience as seamless as possible for our artists. We’ll be very transparent with the process, and feel free to follow along at http://developers.artistdata.com.
    Also, I posted some additional comments about the initiative on our blog this morning if you’d like to take a look: http://bit.ly/yHIKI
    Thanks for being a part of the conversation!
    Brenden

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