August 16, 2004

Webjay Announces Open Web API

Lucas Gonze and other programmers have been working on opening up the Webjay system of listener created playlists of songs on the web with an API and now is producing example PhP scripts:

Webjay Test PhP Page

Try typing 'idealord' as the user and 'ContemporaryMusic2004' as the playlist to get a listing of one of my playlists.

What this opens up is going to be interesting because Webjay is essentially aggregating MP3 url's plus a semblance of curation, one of the missing ingredients in the discovery of interesting new music. MP3 blogging has become mainstream as evidenced by Warner Bros. recent attempt at co-option of a popular site - Music For Robots Sell Out. The numbers of legal (and quasi-legal) MP3's online now is vast. Systems for exploring them are needed which will encourage meta-commentary and curation to allow the great unknown musics available today to be heard. Recent discussions at ArtsJournal have exposed to many of us just how jaded and non-interested new music critics are about the web music scene. Tools are required to expose these new musics to interesting critics.

If I like X's playlists will I like all of the MP3's she has Webjayed? One ongoing capability within the Webjay system is the basing of playlists on others playlists. Typically diverse almost college radio-ish arrangements of materials abutting each other portend a difficult meta-curation process, but one rife with potential. Another interesting capability is the 'Play this page' system which automatically adds all MP3's of a given page to the Webjay system. In fact, one of the added benefits of using the Playthispage functionality is that you get immediate feedback about related playlists that duplicate the MP3's you've just scraped.

If we can use our imaginations, combination Webjay-powered blogs and portals hold the promise of a golden age of independent online music which is able to critically compete with the big boys.

Webjay Dev List

Posted by jeff at August 16, 2004 01:07 PM

Have you noticed how easily modern classical fits in with other stuff on Webjay, unlike classic classical? It gives me hope that getting away from traditional distribution will allow this music to finally connect with its natural audience.

Posted by: Lucas at August 18, 2004 03:38 PM

Yeah that's amazing, and what made me think of that college radio collage comment. One big problem (and I'm planning an article on it) is that once the flood gates to the bedroom composer are open, how will the real world critical process function in promoting the cream to the top? Today's print critics seem totally disinterested in the online new music scene.

Posted by: jeff at August 18, 2004 03:47 PM