As rumored, Spotify is today rolling out new features at its "New Direction" event in New York that will let third-party developers plug into the streaming service's music platform. CEO Daniel Ek took to the stage to announce the first generation of apps, with partners like Rolling Stone, Billboard, last.fm, Pitchfork, The Guardian, and more.
Most of the current integrations take what is traditionally editorial content (i.e. playlists, reviews, concert listings), and weds it to the Spotify music platform. For example, Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone explained that editors and artists will be creating and curating playlists in the publication's new app, and the music backend will be provided by Spotify. The platform will also be available to developers, who will be able to build HTML5 apps on top of the service.
Ek also announced a new App Finder within Spotify, which is visually familiar to the iTunes Store, and offers a variety of free apps. Once installed, they'll show up in your left rail. The Rolling Stone app provides an editorial mix of reviews and playlists, with full songs and albums attached to the content. Last.fm is a launch partner as well, and your full history, recommendations, and albums are directly integrated into the app within Spotify — a much cleaner social music experience than the old last.fm. Songkick adds upcoming concerts, complete with ticket purchasing, and, as expected, you'll be able to listen to music from bands that are coming to your city. TuneWiki's app will let you read and interact with a song's lyrics as it plays from the Spotify servers. At launch, these apps are only going to be available on the desktop; mobile functionality may be coming later.
In terms of social features in the player itself, Spotify is adding what looks very similar to Facebook's ticker. You'll be able to see what your friends — or very close friends, who you'll soon be able to highlight — are listening to, starring, and adding to playlists. The first batch of apps will launch in beta today on the Spotify site. Check out a video of apps in action below.
We've got a full hands-on here.