NEW YORK CITY -- When TouchTunes introduced its smart jukebox platform in 2011, the digital music company hinted that software development tools would be available to third parties who could use them to create applications that interface with its jukeboxes. Living up to its reputation as the creator of the world's first smart jukebox, TouchTunes has now opened its API platform to developers.
In the computer world, an application programming interface, or API, specifies how some software components should interact with each other and hardware. APIs are often viewed as a functional way to make applications work together, a digital adhesive of sorts.
To get things started, TouchTunes has released three of its APIs, which it describes as "lite," to test the waters. The location API consists of data for more than 60,000 TouchTunes jukebox venues -- ideal for generating maps. The "now playing" API shows what song is playing at any of those TouchTunes locations. And the music search API returns results to flexible queries about available artists and songs.
Developers can sign up to obtain an "access key" to these TouchTunes APIs, which can be used to build smartphone apps that interface with jukebox hardware.
TouchTunes demonstrated what could be done with its APIs at the Music Hackathon Championship during the South by Southwest festival in early March in Austin, TX. It demoed an app that played back music from its jukebox network on Beats Music, Rdio, Spotify, Soundcloud or YouTube, depending on the users music subscription and country of origin. This music player was built on APIs from TouchTunes, Foursquare and Bop.fm.
In addition to opening up its lite APIs, TouchTunes announced the formation of its API Partner Program, which gives developers additional integration points and control through a more powerful set of APIs, including those that allow users to pick and play songs directly within their mobile apps.
TouchTunes also has its software development kit (SDK) at GitHub, a Web-based hosting service for software development projects.
TouchTunes believes that by giving the outside world access to its APIs it will attract the best and brightest ideas for its jukebox platform. By doing so, the company has also opened itself, and jukebox operators, to benefits of new revenue generation, user traffic and innovation amid widespread use of mobile devices by consumers.
Its API strategy is a game-changer for the jukebox industry, TouchTunes chief executive Charles Goldstuck told Vending Times. And since cracking them open, he reported, thousands of application developers have looked at the company's APIs.
Since launching the first digital box in 1998, TouchTunes has become synonymous with the contemporary jukebox industry. While it is known mostly for its touchscreen jukeboxes in bars and other hospitality venues, TouchTunes is also evolving into a mobile company. Its jukebox mobile app has been downloaded more than two million times.