Island Def Jam to Open Its Music Catalog to App Programmers

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Island Def Jam–the major label that’s home to Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West and a lot of other big names–is about to officially announce an alliance with the Echo Nest, an application-development platform that’s been doing really interesting things with music apps.

According to Billboard, under the terms of the deal, developers using the Echo Nest’s platform will be able to use the entire mammoth Island Def Jam recording catalog for free in their apps. (IDJ will keep publishing rights to whatever the developers come up with; if they decide to distribute the apps, they’ll split the proceeds with the developers and the Echo Nest.

The unusual part of this agreement is that the IDJ catalog will essentially be an API, or application programming interface: a chunk of code that’s available to anyone who wants to use it as long as they agree to predetermined terms. This deal means that it’ll be much easier for music-hack-minded developers to make interesting stuff involving IDJ’s recordings (without having to negotiate for rights first), and easier for IDJ to have access to developers who’ll be coming up with novel uses for that catalog and its associated information.

A recent tweet from the Echo Nest suggests that the official announcement of the deal will be at Digital Music Forum East in New York City this afternoon at 5:05 PM.

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