Posts Tagged hack
Every week, thousands of artists release albums on Spotify. Sifting through all this new music to find good stuff to listen to can be hard. Luckily, there are lots of tools from New Music Tuesday playlists to the Spotify Viral 50 to help us find the needles in the proverbial haystack of new music. However, most of these tools tend to surface up new music by artists that have been around for a while. For instance, the top artist on Spotify Viral 50 as I write this is Jeremih who has been on the charts for five years. The top of New Music Tuesday right now is Mumford & Sons who’ve been recording for at least eight years.
I’m interested in finding music by the freshest artists – artists that are at the very beginning of their recording careers. To that end, I’ve built a new chart called ‘The Fresh 40’ that shows the top albums by the freshest artists. To build The Fresh 40 I scour through all of the albums that have been released in the last two weeks on Spotify (on average that’s about 30 thousand albums), and find the albums that are the very first album release for its artist. I then rank each album by a weighted combination of the number of followers the artist has on Spotify and the popularity of the artist and album (which is related to Spotify track plays). The result is a chart of the top 40 most popular fresh artists.
The Fresh 40 updates every day and shows all the salient info including the rank, yesterday’s rank, the overall score, artist followers, artist popularity, album popularity and the number of days that the album has been on the chart. Since an album can only be on the chart for 15 days, there’s quite a bit of change from day to day.
If you are interested in finding music by the very newest artists on Spotify, you might be interested in The Fresh 40. Give the chart a look.
Yesterday, I upgraded the Infinite Jukebox to make it less likely that it would get stuck in a section of the song. As part of this work, I needed an easy way to see the play coverage in the song. To do so, I updated the Infinite Jukebox visualization so that it directly shows play coverage. With this update, the height of any beat in the visualization is proportional to how often that beat has been played relative to the other beats in the song. Beats that have been played more have taller bars in the visualization.
This makes it easy to see if we’ve improved play coverage. For example, here’s the visualization of Radiohead’s Karma Police with the old play algorithm after about an hour of play:
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of bunching up of plays in the third quarter of the song (from about 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock). Now compare that to the visualization of the new algorithm:
With the new algorithm, there’s much less bunching of play. Play is much more evenly distributed across the whole song.
Here’s another example. The song First of the Year (Equinox) by Skrillex played for about seven hours with the old algorithm:
As you can see, it has quite uneven coverage. Note the intro and outro of the song are almost always the least played of any song, since those parts of the song typically have very little similarity with the rest of the song.
Here’s the same song with the new algorithm:
Again, play coverage is much more even across all of the song outside of the intro and the outro.
I like this play coverage visualization so much that I’ve now made it part of the standard Infinite Jukebox. Now as you play a song in the Jukebox, you’ll get to see the song coverage map as well. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
It is Music Hack Day London this weekend. However, I am in New England, not Olde England, so I wasn’t able to enjoy in all the pizza, beer and interesting smells that come with a 24 hour long hackathon. But that didn’t keep me from writing code. Since Spotify Apps are the cool new music hacking hotttnesss, I thought I’d create a Spotify related hack called the Artist Picture Show. It is a simple hack – it shows a slide show of artist images while you listen to them. It gets the images from The Echo Nest artist images API and from Flickr. It is a simple app, but I find the experience of being able to see the artist I’m listening too to be quite compelling.
Slightly more info on the hack here.
The music hacking events just keep on coming. On October 21st, the second Music & Bits will be held in conjunction with the Amsterdam Dance Event. Music & Bits will provide a venue for people in the music industry, bloggers, press, developers, hackers entrepreneurs and music enthusiasts to get together to focus on trends and opportunities in the online music world. Music & Bits will have two tracks – a traditional conference track with speakers and representatives from startups. and a music hacker track following the model of the music hackdays where hardware, software and music hackers can do their thing without having to listen to some PR guy talk about how he will leverage the synergies of the music 2.0. (Actually, the spring Music&Bits had some rather awesome speakers, so I expect that they’ll do the same for this event too).
The hackday is totally free for participants but is limited to 150 participants. (and if this is organized like the London hackday, if you want to attend, be prepared to describe how you hack hardware, software or music – not just anyone can fill one of the 150 slots).
The London hackday was such a great event, I’m glad to see that it is being repeated in different parts of the world. Look for more Music Hackdays coming to a city near you.
Music Hackday is nearly upon us. If you want to maximize your hacking time during the hackday there are a few things that you can do in advance to get ready to hack on the Echo Nest APIs:
- Get an Echo Nest API Key – If you are going to be using the API, you need to get a key. You can get one for free from: developer.echonest.com
- Read the API overview – The overview gives you a good idea of the capabilities of the API. If you are thinking of writing a remix application, be sure to read Adam Lindsay’s wonderful remix tutorial.
- Pick a client library – There are a number of client libraries for The Echo Nest (link will be live soon)- select one for your language of choice and install it.
- Think of a great application – easier said than done. If you are looking for some inspiration, checkout these examples: morecowbell, donkdj, Music Explorer FX, and Where’s the Pow? . You’ll find more examples in the Echo Nest gallery of Showcase Apps. If you are stuck for an idea ask me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Adam Lindsay – we have a list of application ideas that we think would be fun to write.
At the end of the hackday, Adam will choose the Most Awesome Echo Nest Hackday Application. The developer of this application will go home a shiny new iPod touch. If you want your application to catch Adam’s eye write an Echo Nest application that makes someone say “woah! how did you do that!”, extra points if its an application with high viral potential.
I’m rather bummed that I won’t be attending the event, so I hope folks takes lots of pictures and post them to flickr so I can have a vicarious hackday experience.