Archive for category Music
Next weekend, (starting friday, June 28th) there are two music-related hackathons in NYC. First up, there’s The Hamr
Organized by Colin Raffel is HAMR: Hacking Music and Audio Research. This hackathon is focused on music research with a goal of testing out new ideas rather than making a finished product. The focus of HAMR is on the development of new techniques for analyzing, processing, and synthesizing audio and music signals. HAMR will be modeled after a traditional hack day in that it will involve a weekend of fast-paced work with an emphasis on trying something new rather than finishing something polished. However, this event will deviate from the typical hack day in its focus on research (rather than commercial) applications. In addition to HAMRing out work, the event will include presentations, discussions, and informal workshops. Registration is free and researchers from any stage in their career are encouraged to participate. Read more about Hamr
The other hacking event is Music Education Hack
The goal of the Music Education Hack is to explore how technology and help transform music education in NYC schools. Hackers will have 24 hours to ideate, collaborate and innovate, before presenting their work to a panel of esteemed judges for a grand prize of $5,000. The Hacker teams will have access to New York City teachers as part of the creation process as they focus on building products that incorporate music and technology into the education space. For more info visit the Music Education Hack registration page.
What’s nearly as anticipated as the re-release of Arrested Development? Why its the release of Infinite Jukebox for iPhone. I’ve finally started coding it and have something to show. Here it is running in the simulator:
And on my device:
There still a long way to go, but progress is being made. No tricks here, Michael. Illusions.
Update: Here’s Monday’s coding update .. now with fancy animations (as suggested by Ajay)
I was pretty excited to learn that two of my recent music hacks have been nominated in the Best Music Hack category of the MTV O Music Awards:
My daughter Jennie made a hack last week at Hill Holliday‘s TVnext Hack. She won her category, and ultimately went on to win the grand prize. She got lots of prizes including multiple iPads, Rokus boxes, Apple TVs, lots of money and even Viggle Points. Eliot wrote a really nice article about how Jennie found herself at the hackathon and how she managed to win it. Since then it has been a rather crazy week for Jennie. She’s received multiple internship offers, a number of interview requests and an offer to help market her hack. Today, her story got picked up by Mother Jones which has opened the mainstream media floodgates. In the last 24 hours there have been stories in: US News and World Report, The Los Angeles Times, Huffpo, CNET, Hollywood.com, Dailydot, The AV Club, IMDB, Turnstyle, The Mary Sue (The Geek Guide to Girl Culture) and Wil Wheaton! More to come tomorrow. Yes, it is a big day for Jennie – she had her last AP Exam of high school (Calculus), she got her birthday present (an iPhone), and she was interviewed for NPR Morning Edition (expect to hear her tomorrow morning Update – it is here). Her next life goal is to get more twitter followers than her friend Andrew (@ambushsabre). It’s a lot for someone just two days shy of her 18th birthday.
Update (May 11) – as I write this, a Good Morning America camera is filming Jennie typing on her computer. She has had recent appearances in: slashdot, Marketplace, Aljazeera, AP (Wire service), lots of foreign news sites from Romania, Sweden and France. Here’s a photo of the Good Morning America shoot:
Update: 5/12/2013 – Here’s a screengrab of the Good Morning America piece.
I’ve spent the weekend on the 35th floor of a very fancy office building in the heart of Boston hacking on the TV at Hill Holliday‘s TVnext Hack. My hack is called ‘The Curation Station’. It is a tool for helping music curators pick new music for TV shows. Here’s how it works:
The curator enters the name of the the TV show – the app then uses either the Rdio or the Watchwith API to find music that has played on those shows. The curator is then brought to the curation screen where the song collection can be visualized and previewed along any of 16 Echo Nest parameters such as energy, loudness, danceability, artist hotttnesss and so on.
You can click on any particular song, inspect all of its attributes You can use this to explore the collection and to find new music that matches the mood or style of show. If you like a particular song, you can ask to see and hear more new music like that song. If you like one of the recommended songs you can save it for future use. You can try the app out here: The Curation Station
I’ve enjoyed the weekend at TVNext hack. It was a really nice event – with all the best amenities for hacking. Well done all!
Next up in this week of demos is The Artist News demo. This is a simple demonstration of how to get recent news articles for any of the millions of artists tracked by The Echo Nest. To get artist news, you use the artist/news API call. This call accepts the artist name or ID (an Echo Nest ID or the artist ID from any of our Rosetta partners, including Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, 7Digital and many more). You can also set a ‘high relevance’ flag if you want to restrict the results to only news articles that are mainly about the given artist.
The Artist News Demo is quite straightforward. Type in an artist’s name, and you’ll get the most recent news about the artist. Here’s a screenshot:
You can look at the tempo distribution of songs by The Rolling Stones:
Or you can look at scatter plots that show 4 attributes at once (X, Y, size and color). Here’s a plot of all of Muse’s songs showing the energy, loudness, hotttnesss and liveness:
You can interact with the plots – click on a bar or point in a plot to listen to songs (via Rdio).
The app lets you explore across 11 different song parameters: energy, loudness, danceability, liveness, speechiness, hotttnesss, tempo, duration, key, time signature and mode. You can use the app to find all sorts of interesting things. Want to listen all the stage patter for an artist? Create scatter plot for the artist with liveness and speechiness as the X, Y parameters. The songs in the upper right-hand corner of the plot will be the ones you are looking for. Try it with an artist like Elvis Presley or Dean Martin.
Sunday at SXSW was the Artist’s Hack - where passionate developers from around the world gathered to build cool stuff. Artist’s Hack was organized by Backplane and Spotify and is dedicated to building the future of music, art, video and collaborative though on the web and mobile during SXSW.
The hack was held at Raptor House – a short walk from downtown Austin. There was plenty of bandwidth, good food and beverages for the 8 hour hackathon. APIs were in abundance: Spotify, The Echo Nest, SendGrid, Twilio, Youtube, Klout, Paypal, Gimbal, SeatGeek, Aviary, Etsy, Topspin, Chute, Dropbox, Music Dealers and others were all there in force offering their technology for hackers to use.
Hackers built around 20 hacks during the event. Some of my favorites are:
- biomuse – creates playlists based upon your biometrics. This was built on top of the biobeats platform. Quite neat stuff. Winner of one of the Echo Nest prizes.
- Jamblot – visualize your song history in a creative way to commemorate any period of your life that affected your music choice. Jamblot draws your song history for you. Winner of one of the Echo Nest prizes.
- Party Together - ambient automatic shared playlists for your party. Winner of one of the Echo Nest prizes.
- We browse in public – Stream all of your browser activity live to others. Chat with others based on their activity.
- Bundio – Monetize dropbox.
My hack is A longer life for post-rock fans. This was my first time using the Twilio API. It was a lot of fun to build. The Twilio API and whole developer experience is awesome. Any company with an API should try to emulate what Twilio does.
One novel aspect of the event was that Cory Booker was one of the judges. Here he is watching Danny Kirschner give the Bundio demo
Cory is a pro – when there was a power outage that delayed some of the demos, Cory conducted an impromptu ’interview’ with one of the founders of Backplane while the crew scurried to restore the power.
All in all, the Artist’s Hack was great fun, with lots of creative hacks. Well done Spotify and Backplane!
I like to listen to post-rock. Unfortunately, post-rock bands tend to have very long names like ‘Explosions in the Sky’, ‘God Speed you black emperor’, and ‘This will Destroy You’. I have a long commute and I will find that I am frequently risking my life trying to type a long band name into my music player. I wish Siri supported non-itunes players like Spotify, but until then I need a way to tell Spotify to play music by bands with long names. If I don’t, I will die in a fiery crash on Route 3 in Lowell Mass. A horrible way to go. So this weekend at the Artists Hack I built something to solve this problem. It lets you play music in Spotify without having to type long artist names. Here’s how it works.
I used Twilio to set up a phone number such that if you text it an artist name, it will respond with a spotify link to a song by that artist. You can add the phone number to your contacts as “music player”, You can then use Siri in a dialog like so:
Me: Send a text to Music Player
Siri: What would you like it to say
Me: Explosion in the Sky
Siri: OK, I’ll send it
A few seconds later I get a text message back with a link to a popular track by Explosions in the Sky. I tap the link and Spotify opens and plays the song. It is about as simple a hack as can be, but it solves a real problem for me. Here’s the screenshot:
If you want to use it – send a text with the artist name (and nothing else) to 603 821 4328. The code is on github. Update … much to my surprise this hack won two prizes at the hackathon – the Twilio 1st prize and the overall 3rd prize.
Meet Mandy. She’s a musician and a multimedia artist. She’s also losing her vision. She is on a quest – to push forward interfaces for non-visual music production to make it easier for those with vision impairments to use modern technology to create music.
We in the music tech community, especially the music hackers among us are in an excellent position to help Mandy take some steps toward reaching her goal. Anyone who has been to a Music Hack Day has seen the wide range of non-traditional music interfaces that we create. We’ve made Music gloves, leap-motion-based mixers and orchestras, invisible violins made with iphones, remixing tools that use makey-makey, music controllers made out of kinects, arduinos, webcams and even neckties and coat racks. We build things that make music. With a little guidance we should be able to build things that will help the visually impaired make music too. Mandy has just started a blog: Hacking Blindness where she is writing about her journey to help develop new and immersive ways for low vision and blind musicians to perform and manipulate. sound. If you are a music techie/hacker and are interested in learning more about this go to Mandy’s blog and join in the discussion. It is just getting started. I hope that in an upcoming Music Hack Day we can have Mandy come and help us understand how we can help her #hackblindness.