Music streaming is taking over as the way people access and share the songs they like, but this tends to silo users by the streaming services they use. A Spotify link does not work for someone who only uses Apple Music, Google Play, or any of a growing number of services. Recognizing this as a nuisance experienced by millions of people, a team of Hack Reactor students built Songlink, a tool that creates links that can access songs from all the most popular streaming services. Within weeks of its release, Songlink was featured on LifeHacker, Product Hunt, and many appreciative tweets.
Songlink looks like the only safe way to share music on social media. https://t.co/SlwGOcbcUo— Matt Birchler (@mattbirchler) January 10, 2016
“From a sharers perspective it’s a really easy way to share with your followers,” says Nick Stobie, who built Songlink with Kurt Weiberth, Ethan Godt and David Son. “For someone who clicks the link, it’s a universal link that gives them all the streaming services they can listen with.”
This simple idea required the team to work separately with the APIs of YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and Deezer (which has a wide international following).
“We had to pull data for each service,” Godt explains. “Some are much more conveniently formatted than others.”
Each streaming service comes up with its own way to label artists, titles, and all other song data. This can get tricky around information such as featured artists and remixes, which may appear as part of the title, the artist or elsewhere. Tackling these challenges earned the team recognition from LifeHacker, Product Hunt and a host of international sites.
“Just this morning, a Spanish blog wrote about us, and hundreds of people are tweeting that exact link,” says Weiberth.
“It’s been used in 60 different countries,” adds Stobie. “We have blogs about us that we can’t even read. It’s really rewarding seeing people using what we built.”
This was a thrill for a team that had never had this kind of exposure before.
“The experience of building something from nothing--to write code that’s being used by thousands of people--it helped me realize that development isn’t a super complicated thing that happens only in corporations,” Son explains. “If you know how to code, you can do something--it’s a taste of a startup culture.”
Weiberth echoes this sentiment: “My biggest takeaway was learning how to build an app that is used by real people in the real world. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.”
The team has been able to enjoy a steady stream of tweets praising their work:
Nice: Songlink. Share music agnostic of streaming services like Spotify & iTunes https://t.co/Xd3HjBMqQl— Ruben Bos (@rubenbos) January 8, 2016
Clever new service Songlink makes it easy to create links that go to all the major music services, at once. https://t.co/kpemNrKMhx— David Das (@daviddas) January 9, 2016
Please start sharing music like this. https://t.co/YM0IpfOfOU— Brad Barrish (@bradbarrish) January 9, 2016
Switching to https://t.co/xbRoXi4zQn for cross-streaming service sharing. This is the exception to the ’never cross the streams’ rule.— David Crompton (@_crompsy_) January 7, 2016
The experience showed each student how far they had come in their three months at Hack Reactor.
“It was a great program, great experience,” says Stobie. “We didn’t just build an app, it’s being used. That’s a really cool feeling. I expected to not feel validated until I got a job, but I feel it already.”
“There’s just not a chance I would have been able to do this in this short a time,” adds Godt.
For Weiberth, the program exceeded his already high expectations:
“I expected to learn a lot, and I learned more than that.”
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