In the world of Web 2.0 and social networking “open” is the new black; it’s the “it” trend. On the same day that Yahoo shook hands with Google and MySpace to join their Open Social programming specification, and the same day Microsoft announced a broad data portability pact with 5 other social networks, digital music network iMeem announced they were launching an open platform of their own.
The iMeem service, dubbed a “Media Platform” aims to go further than other offerings. Whereas Open Social is a common set of programming interfaces developed by Google to allow interoperability among member social networks, the iMeem Media Platform includes both an application programming interface (API) and access to client libraries. The libraries unlock access to music, photos, videos and member profiles available through the site and service. There is also a fully customizable media player available.
In a comment shared with Tech Crunch, iMeem’s CEO Dalton Caldwell suggested the decision to launch an independent programming platform wasn’t to compete with Open Social (which iMeem has been part of since its launch in November 2007) but an effort to expand it. In his words: “We are just shipping code. This is something we built for our own consumption. We are not saying just, ‘Hey, port your existing app to iMeem.’ That is played out. What we think is cool is enabling new apps by saying, ‘Hey, you can access this insane library of music.’”
That access does add a unique and powerful twist. It empowers developers to build anything from music tools like recommendation agents, or online radio players, to customized playlists, anything they can think of – and better yet, it empowers them to do it without having to pay royalties for access to the content.
Warner Music Groups EVP of digital strategy and bus. Development recently told the Washington Post that he thinks “the playlist is the new album. Consumers love to customize and express themselves through playlists.” If he’s even remotely right, the depth of content bundled into iMeem’s platform will give programmers access to a treasure trove of material. Effectively, the iMeem Media Platform will give them a shovel and say “play in our sandbox… see what you can build.”
Supporting the announcement, Imeem has also launched a new developers’ Web site at http://www.imeem.com/developers.