Echo Nest and EMI Music have partnered to give app developers access to EMI's catalog and marketing support for their creations. The effort is part of EMI Music's OpenEMI initiative, the company's effort to streamline the music licensing process for new digital applications.
The partnership gives app developers a one-stop shop for music, video and other EMI content. The deal covers songs for which EMI has both recording and publishing rights, giving developers a simplified path to using the catalog of songs. Upon launch, developers will have access to the catalogs of such artists as Gorillaz, Pet Shop Boys, Tinie Tempah, Professor Green, Eliza Doolittle, Chiddy Bang and The Japanese Popstars.
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Efforts like this are in their early stages but represent an exciting future for music. The costs and complications of licensing music are prohibitive for most app developers. History tells us the best apps are not necessarily created by the developers with the most funding and resources. Efforts like the one by The Echo Nest and EMI help level the playing field and encourage innovation.
The Echo Nest is making available multiple developer sandboxes (developer speak for a working directory or development server) at launch, including one with about 2,000 tracks for which EMI controls both master and publishing and several artist-specific developer sandboxes. The Echo Nest is also making available catalog-wide sandboxes, starting with the Blue Note catalog.
Here's how it works: a developer signs up for The Echo Nest API and is granted access to The Echo Nest API. After the developer uses the API to test ideas, a proposal is submitted to The Echo Nest, EMI and the relevant artist (if the app is artist-specific). If the proposal is approved, and if the resulting beta version is also approved, EMI will publish the production version in the relevant app store. The developer retains ownership of the intellectual property, which EMI uses under license.
Rights holders will get 60 percent of net revenue generated from an app. The developer will get "the lion's share" of the other 40 percent of net revenue, according to the FAQ page. The Echo Nest gets a "small share" of that 40 percent.
App developers also get marketing support from EMI to promote their applications. According to an Echo Nest spokesperson, the exact marketing elements "will vary from app to app." In any one instance this support could include promotion through an artist's marketing and promotion channels or through EMI's social networking tools. In some instances a marketing plan may be tailored to a specific app.