Posts Tagged Music

Music Tech Meetup in Dublin

A  bunch of music tech folk will be in Dublin Ireland next week to attend ACM Recommender Systems 2012.    We’ll be heading over to the  Bull & Castle, beside Christ Church, Dublin City on September 13 at 18:30 to join <Pub> Standands Dublin, to hang out and chat about hacking music.  Pub Standards is a post-conference drink-up without the conference. There’s no format, talks or presentations. It’s just geeks + beer. If you are in the area and are interested in hanging out, feel free to come on down and have a beer. Image


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Austin climbing the Most Musical City chart with a bullet!

I’ve received quite a bit of feedback on my recent Most Musical City post, especially from folks from Austin that didn’t like Austin’s 14th place ranking.  This reddit/austin comment thread was rather brutal, and this Austinist article Wait, What?! Austin Not Ranked In Top 10 Musical Cities List even closed with this appeal: any data analysts out there up for the challenge to get Austin closer to the top?  

Well, John Rees,  the Director of Community & Economic Development at Capital Area Council of Governments in Austin is just the data analyst that the Austinist was looking for.  He re-ran the analysis but instead of using city populations he calculated the rankings based upon metropolitan statistical areas.    In the May issue of Data Points Newsletter John reports on this analysis:

When data from The Echo Nest is adjusted to include metropolitan statistical area population data, the rankings of America’s most musical places changes significantly.  Topping the list is Nashville, San Francisco and Los Angeles (which includes Beverly Hills). The Austin region jumps ten places from the original list to become America’s forth [sic] most musical region.

John goes on to point out some of the non-quantifiable aspects of the Austin music scene such as the diversity of music as well as the presence of events such as SXSW and Austin City Limits.  John makes a strong argument that Austin is one of the country’s premier music destinations.  Even the reaction of Austin’s residents to my post says a lot about Austin as a music city. People from Austin really care about music and don’t take it kindly when they are not at the top of the most musical city list.   So congrats to Austin, not just for moving up the chart but also for demonstrating that Austin is the city that is most passionate about music

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Loudest songs in the world

Lots of ink has been spilled about the Loudness war and how modern recordings keep getting louder as a cheap method of grabbing a listener’s attention.   We know that, in general, music is getting louder. But what are the loudest songs? We can use The Echo Nest API to answer this question.  Since the Echo Nest has analyzed millions and millions of songs, we can make a simple API query that will return the set of loudest songs known to man.  (For the hardcore geeks, here’s the API query that I used).   Note that I’ve restricted the results to those in the 7Digital-US catalog in order to guarantee that I’ll have a 30 second preview for each song.

So without further adieu, here are the loudest songs

Topping and Core by Grimalkin555

The song Topping and Core by Grmalking555 has a whopping loudness of  4.428 dB.

Modifications by Micron

The song Modifications  by Micron has a loudness of  4.318 dB.

Hey You Fuxxx! by Kylie Minoise

The song Hey You Fuxxx! by Kylie Minoise with a loudness of 4.231 dB

Here’s a little taste of Kylie Minoise live (you may want to turn down your volume)

War Memorial Exit by Noma

The song War Memorial Exit by Noma with a loudness of 4.166 dB

Hello Dirty 10 by Massimo

The song Hello Dirty 10 by Massimo with a loudness of 4.121 dB.

These songs are pretty niche. So I thought it might be interesting to look the loudest songs culled from the most popular songs.  Here’s the query to do that.  The loudest popular song is:

Welcome to the Jungle by Guns 'N Roses

The loudest popular song is Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N Roses with a loudness of -1.931 dB.

You may be wondering how a loudness value can be greater than 0dB.  Loudness is a complex measurement that is both a function of time and frequency.  Unlike traditional loudness measures, The Echo Nest analysis models loudness via a human model of listening,  instead of  directly mapping loudness  from the recorded signal. For instance, with a traditional dB model a simple sinusoidal function would be measured as having the same exact “amplitude” (in dB) whether at 3KHz or 12KHz. But with The Echo Nest model, the loudness is lower at 12KHz than it is at 3KHz because you actually perceive those signals differently.

Thanks to the always awesome 7Digital for providing album art and 30 second previews in this post.

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25 SXSW Music Panels worth voting for

Yesterday, SXSW opened up the 2012 Panel Picker allowing you to vote up (or down) your favorite panels.  The SXSW organizers will use the voting info to help whittle the nearly 3,600 proposals down to  500.  I took a tour through the list of music related panel proposals and selected a few that I think are worth voting for. Talks in green are on my “can’t miss this talk” list.  Note that I work with or have collaborated with many of the speakers on my list, so my list can not be construed as objective in any way.

There are many recurring themes. is everywhere. Everyone wants to talk about the role of the curator in this new world of algorithmic music recommendations. And Spotify is not to be found anywhere!

I’ve broken my list down into a few categories:

Social Music – there must be a twenty panels related to social music. (Eleven(!) have something to do with My favorites are:

    • Social Music Strategies: Viral & the Power of Free – with folks from MOG, Turntable, Sirius XM, Facebook and Fred Wilson.  I’m not a big fan of big panels (by the time you get done with the introductions, it is time for Q&A), but this panel seems stacked with people with an interesting perspective on the social music scene. I’m particularly interested in hearing the different perspectives from Turntable vs. Sirius XM.
    • Can Social Music Save the Music Industry? – Rdio, Turntable, Gartner, Rootmusic, Songkick – Another good lineup of speakers ( is everywhere at SXSW this year) exploring social music.  Curiously, there’s no Spotify here (or as far as I can tell on any talks at SXSW).
    • the Future of Music is Social – – This is the story.
    • Reinventing Tribal Music in the land of Earbuds – AT&T –  this talk explores how music consumption changes with  new social services and the technical/sociological issues that arise when people are once again free to choose and listen to music together.

Man vs. Machine – what is the role of the human curator in this age of algorithmic recommendation and music.  Curiously, there are at least 5 panel proposals on this topic.

Music Discovery – A half dozen panels on music recommendation and discovery.  Favs include:

Mobile Music – Is that a million songs in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Big Data – exploring big data sets to learn about music

Echo Nesty panels – proposals from folks from the nest. Of course, I recommend all of these fine talks.

    • Active Listening – Tristan Jehan – Tristan takes a look at how the music experience is changing now that the listener can take much more active control of the listening experience.  There’s no one who understands music analysis and understanding better than Tristan.
    • Data Mining Music Paul Lamere – This is my awesome talk about extracting info from big data sets like the Million Song Dataset. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’ll be looking at things like click track detectors, passion indexes, loudness wars and son on.
    • What’s a music fan worth? – Jim Lucchese – Echo Nest CEO takes a look at the economics of music, from iOS apps to musicians.  Jim knows this stuff better than anyone.
    • Music Apps Gone Wild – Eliot Van Buskirk – Eliot takes a tour of the most advanced, wackiest music apps that exist — or are on their way to existing.
    • Curation in the age of mechanical recommendations – Matt Ogle – Matt is a phenomenal speaker and thinker in the music space.  His take on the role of the curator in this world of algorithms is at the top of my SXSW panel list.
    • Editor vs. Algorithm in the Music Discovery Space – SPIN, Hype Machine, Echo Nest (Jim Lucchese), 7Digital
    • Defining Music Discovery through Listening – Echo Nest (Tristan Jehan), Hunted Media – This session will examine “true” music discovery through listening and how technology is the facilitator.

Miscellaneous topics

Well, there you have it – my 25 top music talks for SXSW 2012. Don’t forget to vote!

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Data Mining Music – a SXSW 2012 Panel Proposal

I’ve submitted a proposal for a SXSW 2012 panel called Data Mining Music.  The PanelPicker page for the talk is here:  Data Mining Music.  If you feel so inclined feel free to comment and/or vote for the talk. I promise to fill the talk  with all sorts of fun info that you can extract from datasets like the Million Song Dataset.

Here’s the abstract:

Data mining is the process of extracting patterns and knowledge from large data sets. It has already helped revolutionized fields as diverse as advertising and medicine. In this talk we dive into mega-scale music data such as the Million Song Dataset (a recently released, freely-available collection of detailed audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks) to help us get a better understanding of the music and the artists that perform the music.

We explore how we can use music data mining for tasks such as automatic genre detection, song similarity for music recommendation, and data visualization for music exploration and discovery. We use these techniques to try to answers questions about music such as: Which drummers use click tracks to help set the tempo? or Is music really faster and louder than it used to be? Finally, we look at techniques and challenges in processing these extremely large datasets.

Questions answered:

  1. What large music datasets are available for data mining?
  2. What insights about music can we gain from mining acoustic music data?
  3. What can we learn from mining music listener behavior data?
  4. Who is a better drummer: Buddy Rich or Neil Peart?
  5. What are some of the challenges in processing these extremely large datasets?

Flickr photo CC by tristanf

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Where did my Google Music go?

I just fired up my Google Music account this afternoon and this is what I found:

 All 7,861 songs are gone.  I hope they come back.  Apparently, I’m not the only one this is happening to.

Update – all my music has returned sometime overnight.



The Wub Machine

Peter Sobot (@psobot ) has used The Echo Nest Remix to automatically add dubstep to any song.

The Crash Bandicoot Dubset remix is pretty wild.  Peter says that The Wub Machine is still work in progress. Check out how it works and add your ideas to the mix on Peter’s blog.

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