EMI Music and music intelligence platform The Echo Nest today announced a genuinely innovative initiative that will grant application developers blanket permission to work with thousands of songs, videos and other licensed music-related assets.

The two companies have borrowed the developer’s term “sandbox” to describe the collaborative environment they created as part of the OpenEMI initiative. It’s appropriate, since in many ways it’s like the music industry version of a technology platform deciding to open up its API so that third parties can build upon it.

Hosted and managed by The Echo Nest, EMI’s sandbox invites developers to register and gain access to assets associated with EMI artists including Tinie Tempah (pictured), Gorillaz, Pet Shop Boys, Professor Green, Eliza Doolittle, Chiddy Bang, The Japanese Popstars and many more to follow. The OpenEMI initiative also includes music from the vaults. Among the artists included so far are Culture Club, Simple Minds, Shirley Bassey and The Verve, as well as artists from the famed Blue Note Records jazz label.

Registered developers also can draw on The Echo Nest’s databases, including dynamic playlist APIs, its Echoprint open source audio fingerprinting, audio analysis and remix software.

They then submit their application concepts to EMI and The Echo Nest. EMI will release approved apps, which can be either ad-supported or premium, for the web, iPhone, iPad, Android and other platforms.

Rights to the assets remain unaffected, and underlying intellectual property in the app is retained by the developer. Revenues are shared between developers and rightsholders, and EMI will handle all licensing and clearance requirements as well as marketing of the apps.

Jim Lucchese, chief executive officer of The Echo Nest, said a survey of its 10,000 application developers found that the most common difficulty they faced was licensing music, with lack of marketing assistance the next most common problem. “By taking on responsibilities around licensing and putting EMI’s marketing muscle behind these applications, OpenEMI is directly addressing these pain points and fostering a more collaborative environment between the established music industry and its future,” Lucchese said.

Jim Brady, EMI Group executive vice president Strategy and Insight said: “We’re very excited about the potential of working together with The Echo Nest and their network to develop great applications for our artists. We’ve looked at how best we can improve the process of creating new music applications and the OpenEMI sandbox we have built together as a result is a fantastic resource for tapping the passion and innovation of the best developers in the world.”

Related links:

The OpenEMI sandbox –