Nike To Open First-Ever API To Developers At Backplane’s SXSW Music Hackathon

Last month, Jason wrote about the announcement that Backplane — the new interactive, visual platform that’s part Pinterest, part Tumblr and Ning — will be using its star power to stage an unusual event at SXSW: A music hackathon.

The startup, which is backed by Lady Gaga along with a host of Silicon Valley VCs, is hosting its so called “SXSW Managers Hack,” a unique event for SXSW and music tech. The hackathon will be judged by music industry veterans, like Scooter Braun (the guy who helped bring you The Bieber), President of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Jay Brown, and Lady Gaga’s manager (and Backplane Co-founder) Troy Carter, as well as reps from Spotify, Pandora, and SoundHound.

In addition, it seems that hackers will also be able to pair some fitness functionality to their music-related hacks during the event, as we’ve learned that Backplane has enlisted a somewhat unusual name when it comes to hacking: Nike.

Yes, we’ve learned that Nike will be joining the Managers Hack to open up a beta version of the NikeFuel API for the first time to developers interested in combining music with its FuelBand.

For a bit of background, Nike recently released its Jawbone and Fitbit competitor, the Nike FuelBand, which is a lightweight, LED-lit bracelet that uses so-called “NikeFuel” metrics to record biomedical data to your smartphone. In other words, it uses a three-axis accelerometer to measure all your sports-related exercises, syncing that data with an iPhone app so that you can set goals and track exercise while on the go.

This represents the first time that Nike has released an API of any kind, and naturally the first time it’s made its NikeFuel platform available to developers. So now, developers will be able to hack together apps, platforms, and technologies that can “advance the future of digital music distribution,” as Backplane puts it, while adding some cool Nike-backed fitness functionality to boot.

What’s more, this is exciting for developers, because they will be being judged by the people who have their fingers on the button that decide which apps and platforms artists actually use.

The event kicks off tomorrow, Sunday, March 11, and runs from 2-10 p.m., with winners to be chosen at the end of the event. The event will be livestreamed by R to Z Studios, Randi Zuckerberg’s new social media firm. (Zuckerberg will be hosting the stream.) Readers can check it out here.

Backplane will also be broadcasting from Austin into Times Square via the NASDAQ screens.

For more on the event, check it out here. You can also learn more about Path’s new API and recent integration with Nike’s fitness platform here.