The Xbox Music team made a big announcement today, releasing new APIs designed to let third-party developers build apps around Microsoft's music service. Microsoft previously piloted such a program back in December, but today's announcement opens it for the rest of the world without needing to apply.

The announcement post gives even more details of the new API, including complete information on how to implement many new features. Developers have full access to Xbox Music's 38 million track catalog available in 23 countries. Furthermore, there is an affiliate program whereby developers can earn a 5 percent share on purchases and a massive 10 percent on all music pass payments for the lifetime of the subscription.

The new API will give open access to the following features:

  • 38 million songs
  • Artist and album images
  • Search the catalog for artists, albums and tracks
  • Full access to 30 second MP3 previews for entire catalog
  • Access to full track streaming for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
  • Single sign-in integration with Microsoft Account or access key via Azure Data Market
  • User authenticated features of Xbox Music: Read the subscriber's music library and playlists, add new music content or create new playlists (Pilot program only)

Microsoft's opening of the Xbox Music API is a significant step for the company to combat Amazon, Google and Apple, whose music stores are much more accessible. In order to read a subscriber's music library or to add new content, developers still need to apply to the Pilot Program. All other features of the API though are now open.

Assuming developers begin to implement Xbox Music in apps for Windows Phone, Windows and competing platforms it could make Xbox Music a more powerful service. Clearly Microsoft is betting a lot on Xbox Music. Hopefully, we'll see developers adopt this API and release more robust music apps for users.

Source: Xbox Music for Developers; Thanks, MA7mgte#WP, for the tip!