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Letter to Mr. Matt Rickard on 2022-10-03

Dear Mr. Rickard,

Awesome article. I want to give one good example of Screenshots-as-an-API.

Unlike the Western market, the Korean music market is heavily independent. Although YouTube Music has gobbled up the market cap quite significantly, most people still use Korean services to listen to music, primarily due to copyright issues for foreign Music services (they don't have Korean songs). That being said, Spotify and Apple Music have a market penetration of next to nothing.

There are two behemoths in Korea, Naver, and Kakao. Naver services as the omnipotent search engine for Korea (bigger market cap than Google Korea) and Kakao services as an almighty chatting app (more than 95% of Koreans use it). They always fight each other for market superiority.

Kakao currently operates the #1 music streaming service, Melon. In 2019, Naver released a new music streaming service, Vibe, akin to Spotify in terms of interface and functionality. At the time, Melon had a notorious lock-in for music playlists to deter users from escaping to other platforms. Melon had no APIs, SSOs, or Access Tokens, not to mention prohibiting all sorts of copy-paste and data extraction.

Naver eventually released a feature where users could screenshot the playlist to port out playlists from melon. It was a clever move that did not violate any law restrictions or terms of use. I attached a translated article and video for you. The video is in Korean, but it's a 30-second visual tutorial video, so you'll get the feeling.

  • Applying OCR to Naver Vibe, 'moving third-party music list in seconds' Electronic Times.
  • Tutorial: How to easily import playlists from other music apps. Video

The Korean tech market has these random unheard intriguing stories. I'm at @anaclumos on GitHub, Twitter, and any other platform. Hope we can keep in touch.

Best Regards, Sunghyun Cho

Follow-up on 2022-10-04

  • Got a positive response!