One of the big takeaways from ISMIR this year for many researchers is the release of the Echo Nest developer APIs . This set of webservices solves a whole bunch of problems that typically chew up a researcher's time. With the webservices you can get all sorts of artist data such as links to MP3s for the artist(!), news, blogs, similar artists, links to videos. The Echo Nest can also give you two notions of an artist's popularity: 'familiarity' (how well the artist is known in the world) and 'hotttness'. Some examples:
Artist Familiarity Hotttness
Beatles 1.000 0.464
Monkees 0.834 0.000
Deerhoof 0.695 0.716
Vampire Weekend 0.840 0.545
Weezer 0.801 0.329
Mozart 0.552 0.000

As you can see Deerhoof is 'hottt' while Mozart is nottt.

The APIs are very easy to use ... in just a few minutes, I was able to use the Echo Nest API to gather links to audio for the artists in our database. The API call is:

          http://developer.echonest.com/api/get_audio
    ?api_key=NOT_MY_API_KEY&name=Deerhoof&rows=2
         

which yields results like:

          
           <response version="2">
    <status>
        <code>0</code>
        <message>Success</message>
    </status>
    <query>
        <parameter name="api_key">NOT_MY_API_KEY</parameter>
        <parameter name="name">Deerhoof</parameter>
        <parameter name="action">index </parameter>
        <parameter name="method">get_audio</parameter>
        <parameter name="rows">2</parameter>
    </query>

    <artist>
        <name>Deerhoof</name>
        <id>ARC51DL1187B9A9FED</id>
        <mbid>11eabe0c-2638-4808-92f9-1dbd9c453429</mbid>
    </artist>

    <results numFound="142" numShown="2" start="0">
        <doc id="a17a0f36a0d46de8ff0e2e1d450e92dd" type="audio">
            <artistId>ARC51DL1187B9A9FED</artistId>
            <artist>Deerhoof</artist>
            <release>Offend Maggie</release>
            <title>Offend Maggie</title>
            <url>http://boxstr.com/files/3627643_bugb2/Deerhoof%20-%20Offend%20Maggie.mp3</url>
            <link>http://pirika01.blogspot.com/2008/09/nwz-playlist-11.html</link>
            <date>Tue Sep 23 12:01:34 UTC 2008</date>
            <length>122</length>
        </doc>
        <doc id="998e139bd98d233b5d33455d11cbd352" type="audio">
            <artistId>ARC51DL1187B9A9FED</artistId>
            <artist>Deerhoof</artist>
            <release>Offend Maggie</release>
            <title>Offend Maggie</title>
            <url>http://mp3upload.ca/download/8373/offendmaggie.mp3</url>
            <link>http://letmeplaythemusic.blogspot.com/2008/09/you-know-you-love-me_19.html</link>
            <date>Sat Sep 20 08:00:53 UTC 2008</date>
            <length>122</length>
        </doc>
    </results>
</response>
          
         

The Echo Nest developer's API is cool stuff. I can see it being at the center of the next generation of music tech startups.

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