Replacing individual contracts between developers and labels with a blanket contract and an API is equally advantageous for record labels, Lucchese says. “[Play.me and its labels] basically get an outsourced app development team and a powerful affiliate network of cool apps.”
But the complicated tangle of rights attached to the music libraries owned by major labels means there are limits to the kinds of apps that developers can build with Play.me. For example, if a developer created a piece of software that syncs a track streamed from Play.me to a video–as in a Guitar Hero-style rhythm game–it would require a totally separate set of licenses, including a “sync license.”
Even with these limitations in place, there are plenty of opportunities for developers.
Eventually, says Lucchese, Play.me, Echonest, and all of its affiliated apps could have access to the catalogs of almost every label. “There are probably more than 20 [online] services that have content from all four of the major labels. I’m sure Play.me is going to get there–it just takes time to license them all,” says Lucchese.