"The future of the music business is application developers. They're the new Tower Records. They're the new college radio. That's great news," the Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese told the crowd during his keynote speech at the Billboard Mobile Entertainment Live! Music App Summit Tuesday (Oct. 5) in San Francisco.

Powering music recommendation across the web and sporting a huge music meta-database, the Echo Nest just raised $7 million in funding. It handles music recommendation at award-winning service Mog, among others. Now, they're hard at work iterating on their new, open API for developers this fall, Lucchese said. The Echo Nest stands to reap profits from a controlled approach to open-source development of cool, new music apps.

"If you have a network of 12 developers and your competitor is tapped into 10,000 independent app developers, you are screwed," he said.

Lucchese showed off "Six Degrees of Black Sabbath," a music app hacked together over a weekend during one of the Echo Nest's recent events. The company regularly throws coding parties, trading a t-shirt and a crack at toying with their vast database for a million dollars worth of developer time. Lucchese said he expects to announce the company's first major label partner in the coming weeks.

FOR FULL COVERAGE of Billboard's Mobile Entertainment Live Music App Summit in San Francisco #MEL2010 click here.