On top of the fact that Music Hack Day Stockholm was a fantastic gathering of brilliant minds and ideas resulting in not less than 30 new music projects, it also came to represent new milestone in the era of Nordic public service broadcasting.
SR, Swedish public service radio, was one of the attending companies choosing to launch its very first open API at the Music Hack Day. It’s also the very first public service broadcasting company in the Nordics to do that. Closest to join SR are Norwegian NRK and Finnish YLE. NRKbeta, “NRKs sandbox for technology and new media” announced to launch open API back in summer 2009, but the project has now been postponed to an unknown future date. Finnish YLE has stated the importance of open APIs in their social media strategy, and it has also taken steps towards openness and ways to include new media solutions such as live video streaming using Bambuser.
But SR didn’t just launch. In my opinion, it couldn’t have done it in a better way. I met with both Josefina Moström and Magnus Suneson from SR web development team. They were a bit nervous to bring their very first version of the API, but instead of spending too much time on it “at home”, they saw a much bigger value in bringing it to music and tech fans to get invaluable feedback to build upon. They hung out at the Hack Day all of their awaken time, both days, to be able to be respond quickly to any feedback and make adjustments. And most of all, to connect with and gain better understanding of the music tech community! One is much better off being part of the community, instead of just observing or pushing stuff out to it.
The SR Hacks
Anton Lindqvist, frequent online tech conference hacker, and Johannes Kählare of PlusFourSix, the first ones to hack on SR’s API, gave heads up to have both Josefina and Magnus present on the Hack Day. Anton and Johannes told to have spent effective 10+ hours to finish their projects.
Anton created interactive playlists of SR programs using Last.fm, Spotify and Hype Machine to find the songs online, and Songkick to look up nearby concerts by the artists listed. Check out his first version of program P3 Populär.
Johannes likes to fall asleep by listening to Swedish humor. He created an Android application that lets one listen to the best Swedish humour shows without any setup. The application stops playing automatically after a certain period of time and remembers where it stopped on the next time of play.
These are both useful applications and have lots of potential to add new features and functionality to (I already have a list 🙂 )
Magnus, lead developer at SR, got into hacking himself by launching schedule information for the program P3 combining it with the playlist using Last.fm and Spotify for music data, and Bandsintown for concert info.
Why This Is A Good Thing
To stay relevant to ones audience and gain fans is and will be one of the main challenges in the world of online media. For example, Last.fm grew it’s number of unique visitors with 66% and number of visits with 35% in 2009 (Compete.com). According to Matt Ogle, head of Last.fm web, over 45% of Last.fm traffic comes via 3rd party APIs!
Of the public broadcasting service companies, BBC is one working hard to stay relevant to its audiende. Its tagline “Use our stuff to build your stuff..” is now one that SR can proudly add to its tagline.
Magnus and Josefina have all the reasons to look happy!
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