APIs as Artistic Expression: the Neon API

Musicians take care to craft so many of the ways that they express themselves beyond the music that they release: their outfits, their videos, album covers, the typography used in the liner notes, the palette of the website, the mood of the images, the style of the logos, the tour busses, and most recently their apps.  All of these require attention to detail because these artifacts are the artist’s brand.

IMG_20150209_214551We have been working recently with an innovative  newly-independent artist, Neon Hitch (also on Xbox Music) to allow her to express herself in an entirely new way: with her own API.  Neon owns all the content in the API and will be releasing it on her own interactive label she created called FanLabel.  Neon wanted to engage her fans and now software developers in a new way, in her own voice.  Working side-by-side with her (best working lunch ever!), our team created an API in her voice using the new Microsoft Azure API Management service.

This API lets app developers “snatch” content including choons (songs), flicks (videos), and fotos (pictures) and lets them mash it up in new creative ways.   With her songs, Neon wanted to include more metadata than the typical music API might expose, like the “bevy”, “grub”, “hood”, “mood” to make the API hers.  It was a really fun collaboration creating an API that was expressive and a bit cheeky.  Take a look at the Neon API portal here.

Neon’s interesting background has given her a unique perspective and her songs have empowered many people, including girls and people in the LBGT community.  Microsoft’s efforts to include more people in the world of coding and software development, makes a Neon Hitch API a great match with Microsoft’s mission.  Hopefully more of Neon’s fans will try coding first with her API.

Because we used the Azure API Management service, Neon was able to design the API with her own terminology as well as monitor usage and have an fully-featured API portal created automatically.  All she needed to do was “Neonize” it.  The API portal has a testing console for each of the Snatch APIs as well as code samples generated in JavaScript, C#, PHP, Ruby, Curl, Java, and Objective C to make it simple to start using the API.


We released the API today at the South by Southwest Music Hackathon in Austin, Texas and developers have already started their 24-hour hacking marathon using APIs from Neon, Ableton, Kinect for Windows, and more.  We can’t wait to see what developers do with it.  You can start with the Neon API now and sign up for a free Royal key today.