Circus Mashimus Tent @SXSW 2011: A Playground For Music Apps
Circus Mashimus Tent @SXSW 2011: A Playground For Music Apps

Two of the biggest obsessions for many people at South by Southwest are a) finding cool spots to network and b) a nice wireless connection, and the Circus Mashimus tent, presented by Mashery in partnership with AppCircus, provided a beautiful place to find both.

Besides its burlesque d├ęcor and large sofa, Circus Mashimus offers a program centered around the 2011 Mobile Premier Award, designed to showcase apps from all around the world, enabling developers from abroad to show their work in front of a large, global audience.

Rovi, with its stand conveniently located next to the popcorn stand and a line of hungry visitors, introduced its new developer API this week. The API provides detailed music and entertainment data - showcased on, their new consumer destination site, which includes the former All Music Guide -- and could potentially enable a low-traffic music blogger to provide deep artist information for free, or a music discovery app developer who would rather focus on the user interface.

Over the next few days, dozens of international apps will be competing through pitches for the Award. Notable music apps include: PlayMySong, MixZing, TuneHopper and

PlayMySong, made in Finland, helps mobile users to take control of the playlist and play their favorite music at participating venues. Free for house parties and picnics, the premium offering enables bars and restaurants public places to upgrade for increased visibility.

Philip Eibach, founder and CEO at, described the product as, "like running your own mobile radio station: You listen to the music on your smartphone and broadcast it at the same time. Other mobile users can tune in and listen to the tunes you're playing. You and your listeners hear the same music at the same time."

This music-sharing iPhone app is currently only available to beta users, and most of its audience originates from Berlin due to its location-based aspect. All this is still very early stage, but in the future, one could imagine traveling abroad or discovering a new city via this music sharing experience.

Meanwhile, TuneHopper, run out of Austin, is a Simon Says type of game running on iPhone and iPad that teaches kids about music, ear training, and melodic intervals.

And MixZing may appeal to people who like iTunes Genius but prefer Android as their mobile OS. SocialMuse, its publisher, wants it to become the default Music Player for Android thanks to its Mood Player that automatically fills one's queue with recommended songs.

These apps offer new experiences and channels for music fans, but bring a lot of question marks for the current industry players. Will and how will music licensing, as we know it, be affected by these new peer-to-peer models? Time will tell ...