One of the smartest things about web services are the APIs, which let you take data or content from one service and wrap it up in experience from another service. Mashing services together often results in the whole being significantly greater than the sum of the parts. Take for instance, Instagr.am, which combines cool photo filtering along with an instant network to share your photos. Then, make all of these photos accessible by exporting them to them available through popular social networks that everyone uses like Facebook and Twitter and you have the ability to expose your photos to a much wider audience. You can embed your Instagr.am photos nearly anywhere making it effortless to amplify the reach of your photos.
I believe the next big API target is music. With services like Pandora, Last.fm, Rdio and Spotify, there are no shortages of companies who see the potential in social music. The beauty is that sharing music is something people have been doing for decades, through mix tapes, going to concerts and loaning CDs to each other. The behavior doesn’t need to change in order for it to work; rather, the technology needs to catch up with how consumers expect to discover new tracks.Spotify and Rdio are on the right path realizing that the way to grow is by enabling API access to their music. This allows 3rd party developers to take music from them and use it in a completely different application, one that uses music to enhance another experience. Because music is often a background activity not requiring our full attention, this opens up a number of new avenues such as adding music to a whole slew of apps that are complementary.
I’m pretty excited to see some mobile apps that integrate these APIs in a smart way. Mobile music is a very natural behavior and seeing how this develops using SoLoMo (social location mobile) principles will change the way music is experienced. Imagine walking through a city and getting playlists based on where you are or listening to music from your nearby network. Or checking into a bar on Foursquare and instantly knowing what music is playing and seeing what their patrons’ favorite music is. I’m confident that the next great music experience is yet to be created. But I bet it’ll be an elegant combination of 2-3 key features that strike a chord.