Posts Tagged sxsw

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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Finding music with pictures: Data visualization for discovery

I just finished giving my talk at SXSW called – ‘Finding Music with Pictures”.  A few people asked for the slides  – I’ve posted them to Slideshare. Of course all the audio and video is gone, but you can follow the links to see the vids.  Here are the slides:

Lots of good tweets from the audience.  And Hugh Garry has Storify’d the talk.


The Festival Explorer – Austin Edition

Looking for a tool to help you find the best bands to see in Austin during SXSW?  Check out the Festival Explorer – Austin Edition:

It uses Echo Nest data like hotttness, top terms, similar artists to give you all sorts of ways to explore the over 2,000 artists playing in Austin during the next week.   The  Festival Explorer is a free iPhone app, available in the app store now:  Festival Explorer Austin Edition

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The SXSW Music Maze

There are thousands of artists playing at SXSW this year. To help sort it all out, I thought I’d adapt my Music Maze to work within the world of SXSW 2011 artists.   It is a good way to figure out which bands you’d like to see.

This visualization fits in with the SXSW talk I’m giving in a few days: Finding Music With Pictures

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My favorite music-related panels for SXSW Interactive

Spring break for geeks is nearly upon us. If you are going to SXSW interactive, and are interested in what is is going on at the intersection of music and technology, be sure to check out these panels.

  • Love, Music & APIs –  Dave Haynes (SoundCloud) /Matt Ogle (The Echo Nest) – In the old days it was DJs, A&R folks, labels and record store owners that were the gatekeepers to music. Today, we are seeing a new music gatekeeper emerge… the developer. Using open APIs, developers are creating new apps that change how people explore, discover, create and interact with music. But developers can’t do it alone. They need data like gig listings, lyrics, recommendation tools and, of course, music! And they need it from reliable, structured and legitimate sources. In this presentation we’ll discuss and explore what is happening right now in the thriving music developer ecosystem. We’ll describe some of the novel APIs that are making this happen and what sort of building blocks are being put into place from a variety of different sources. We’ll demonstrate how companies within this ecosystem are working closely together in a spirit of co-operation. Each providing their own pieces to an expanding pool of resources from which developers can play, develop and create new music apps across different mediums – web, mobile, software and hardware. We’ll highlight some of the next-generation of music apps that are being created in this thriving ecosystem. Finally we’ll take a look at how music developers are coming together at events like Music Hack Day, where participants have just 24 hours to build the next generation of music apps. Someone once said, “APIs are the sex organs of software. Data is the DNA.” If this is true, then Music Hack Days are orgies.
  • Finding Music With Pictures: Data Visualization for Discovery –  Paul Lamere (shamelessly self promoting) – The Echo Nest – With so much music available, finding new music that you like can be like finding a needle in a haystack. We need new tools to help us to explore the world of music, tools that can help us separate the wheat from the chaff. In this panel we will look at how visualizations can be used to help people explore the music space and discover new, interesting music that they will like. We will look at a wide range of visualizations, from hand drawn artist maps, to highly interactive, immersive 3D environments. We’ll explore a number of different visualization techniques including graphs, trees, maps, timelines and flow diagrams and we’ll examine different types of music data that can contribute to a visualization. Using numerous examples drawn from commercial and research systems we’ll show how visualizations are being used now to enhance music discovery and we’ll demonstrate some new visualization techniques coming out of the labs that we’ll find in tomorrow’s music discovery applications.
  • Connected Devices, the Cloud & the Future of Music – Brenna Ehrlich, Malthe Sigurdsson, Steve Savoca, Travis Bogard – Discovering and listening to music today is a fragmented experience. Most consumers discover in one place, purchase in another, and listen somewhere else. While iTunes remains the dominant way people buy and organize their digital music collections, on-demand music services like Rdio, MOG and Spotify are creating new ways to discover, play, organize, and share music. The wide-spread adoption of smartphones and connected devices, along with the growing ubiquity of wireless networks, has increased the promise of music-in-the-cloud, but are consumers ready to give up their iTunes and owning their music outright? While, early adopters and music enthusiasts are latching on, what will it take for the mainstream to shift their thinking? This session will explore how connected devices and cloud services will affect the way consumers find and buy music going forward.
  • Expressing yourself Musically with Mobile Technology Ge Wang – Smule – The mobile landscape as we know it is focused heavily on gaming, productivity and social media applications. But as mobile technology continues to advance and phones become smarter, people will search for even more intimate, immersive and interactive ways of expressing themselves. Today, mobile technologies have made music creation easy, affordable and accessible to the masses, enabling users of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, to create and share music, regardless of previous musical knowledge. Whether you’re a fan of hip hop, classic, pop or video game theme music, there is an app for everyone. And the entertainment industry has taken notice – almost every big name artist or brand has an app for mobile devices. Most of them are just fancy message boards providing information, but some are pushing the limits of what it means to interact with the artist or brand. From the palm of your hand you can Auto-Tune your voice to sound like your favorite hip hop star, play an instrument designed by Jorden Ruddess of Dream Theater or join a virtual Glee club. Each of these artists and brands are building communities thru mobile apps that provide anyone the ability to explore their inner star. This presentation will discuss how advances in mobile technology have opened up a new world of expression to everyone and enabled users to broadcast their own musical talents across the globe.
  • How Digital Media Drives International Collaboration in Music – Farb Nivi, Gunnar Madsen, Russell Raines, Stephen Averill, Troy Campbell – The House of Songs is an Austin, TX based project focusing on musical creativity through international collaboration. The House has been operating since September 2009 and has provided the foundation for creative collaboration between some of the strongest Austin and Scandinavian songwriters. Through these experiences, the participating songwriters have created numerous potential relationships and have attained unique experiences benefiting their musical careers. This panel will discuss how digital media influences these collaboration efforts in the present and in the future. The conversation will also cover current trends in this area, challenges artists face in developing and expanding their audience, how artists today can succeed in procuring worldwide digital revenue, and ultimately emphasize the need of having this conversation.
  • Metadata: The Backbone Of Digital Music Commerce – Bill Wilson, Christopher Read, Fayvor Love, Kiran Bellubb – Who cares about metadata? You should. In a world where millions of digital music transactions take place on a daily basis, it’s more important than ever that music, video, and application content appears correctly in digital storefronts, customers can find them, and that the right songwriter, artist and/or content owner gets paid. This panel will review the current landscape and make sense of the various identifiers such as ISRC, ISWC, GRID, ISNI as well as XML communications standards such as DDEX ERN and DSR messages. We’ll also cover why these common systems are critical as the backbone of digital music commerce from the smallest indie artist to the biggest corporate commerce partners.
  • Music & Metadata: Do Songs Remain The Same? – Jason Schultz, Jess Hemerly, Larisa Mann – Metadata may be an afterthought when it comes to most people’s digital music collections, but when it comes to finding, buying, selling, rating, sharing, or describing music, little matters more. Metadata defines how we interact and talk about music—from discreet bits like titles, styles, artists, genres to its broader context and history. Metadata builds communities and industries, from the local fan base to the online social network. Its value is immense. But who owns it? Some sources are open, peer-produced and free. Others are proprietary and come with a hefty fee. And who determines its accuracy? From CDDB to MusicBrainz and Music Genome Project to AllMusic, our panel will explore the importance of metadata and information about music from three angles. First, production, where we’ll talk about the quality and accuracy of peer-produced sources for metatdata and music information, like MusicBrainz and Wikipedia, versus proprietary sources, like CDDB. Second, we’ll look at the social importance of music data, like how we use it to discuss music and how we tag it to enhance music description and discovery. Finally, we’ll look at some legal issues, specifically how patent, copyright, and click-through agreements affect portability and ownership of data and how metadata plays into or out of the battles over “walled garden” systems like Facebook and Apple’s iEmpire. We’ll also play a meta-game with metadata during the panel to demonstrate how it works and why it is important.
  • Neither Moguls nor Pirates: Grey Area Music Distribution – Alex Seago, Heitor Alvelos, Jeff Ferrell, Pat Aufderheide, Sam Howard-Spink – The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.
  • SXSW Music Industry Geeks Meetup – Todd Hansen – As the SXSW Interactive Festival continues to grow, it often becomes harder to discover /network with the specific type of people you want to network with. Hence a full slate of daytime Meet Ups are scheduled for the 2011 event. These Meet Ups are definitely not a panel session — nor do they offer any kind of formal presentation or AV setup. On the contrary, these sessions are a room where many different conversations and (and will) go on at once. This timeslot is for technology geeks working in the music industry to network with other SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum network with other technology geeks in this industry. Cash bar onsite.

There you go! See you all soon in Austin.

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What’s your favorite music visualization for discovery?

In a couple of weeks I’m giving a talk at SXSW called Finding Music with pictures : Data visualization for discovery. In this panel I’ll talk about how visualizations can be used to help people explore the music space and discover new, interesting music that they will like.  I intend to include lots of examples both from the commercial world as well as from the research world.

Ishkur's guide to electronic music - One of my favorite visualizations for discovery

I’ll be drawing material from many sources including the Tutorial that Justin and I gave at ISMIR in Japan in October 2009:  Using visualizations for music discovery.  Of course lots of things have happened in the year and a half since we put together that tutorial such as  iPads, HTML5, plus tons more data availability.  If you happen to have a favorite visualization for music discovery, post a link in the comments or send me an email: paul [at]


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The 3D Music Explorer

Next month I’m giving a talk at SXSW Interactive on using visualizations for discovering music.  In my talk I’ll be giving a number of demos of various types of visualizations used for music exploration and discovery.  One of the demos is an interactive 3D visualizer that I built a few years back.  The goal of this visualizer is to allow you to use 3D game mechanics to interact with your music collection.  Here’s a video

Hope to see you at the talk.

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Do you have a new, cool music app?

Do you have a new, cool music app? Consider entering it into the SXSW Accelerator at SXSW Music.  This accelerator is for  applications and technologies specifically designed for the use of musicians and the music business. These companies seek to advance the creation, distribution and promotion of recorded music, to facilitate licensing and payment for use of recordings, or to aid in the booking, logistics and promotion of live performances.

SXSW offers these to 10 reasons to enter your application into the SXSW Accelerator:

1. Expand Your Audience
Thousands of individuals from around the world flock to SXSW each year looking for the next big thing, and SXSW Accelerator is a major part of the excitement. Showcasing your idea at Accelerator is an incredible opportunity to get in front of individuals who can help take your concept to the next level.

2. Network with Industry Leaders
One of the greatest values of SXSW is the amazing mix of industry leaders, technology innovators, big-name companies, fresh startups, and independent talent attracted to the event. The ample socializing opportunities at SXSW Accelerator make it easy for participants to meet, greet, and establish a network of professionals to work with on current and future projects.

3. Refine Your Product
No matter how strong your pitch, to attract investors you need a strong product. Presenting your idea to an experienced panel of industry experts, and discussing your product with other entrepreneurs can help you to take it to the next level.

4. Polish Your Elevator Pitch
Pitching is the single-most important skill you need to rise above the competition. That pitch should be rock solid. At Accelerator, you get to pitch your nascent technologies to scores of innovators, content producers, media experts, and venture capitalists. Their feedback and expertise can help you sharpen that all-important pitch.

5. Learn About Funding Options
Discover the latest funding strategies adopted by startups, including seed combinators, angel investing, coworking, local investors, and more. The company of experts in the industry will prove a valuable source of ideas to finance your product.

6. Music-Related Technology
We’re looking for the newest and best ideas. That’s why we’ve dedicated an entire day of the SXSW Accelerator to focus specifically on Music-Related Technologies at the forefront of the industry.

7. Take Advantage of Media Exposure
SXSW attracts a lot of media attention, and SXSW Accelerator is particularly interesting to press outlets looking to break the next exciting technology story. Accelerator presenters can leverage that attention to place their company in the spotlight with ample press opportunities.

8. Register at the Lowest Rate
Entering your product or service in SXSW Accelerator guarantees you the lowest early registration rate of the year.

9. Experience All That SXSW Has to Offer
SXSW Music offers a wealth of exciting opportunities and events, including panel programming, showcases, and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. Be a part of it all and enter your innovative product or service to SXSW Accelerator today.

10. Welcome to Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas has long been a hub for freethinking technology movers and shakers. The Central Texas Hill Country has earned the nickname “Silicon Hills” because of the technology industry giants with major operations here and the scores of trailblazing startups and indie tech companies that call Central Texas home. The ever-changing nature of technology and the inclusiveness of its reach make Austin an ideal place to reach out to the larger social web. Did I mention the BBQ?


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Cool music panels at SXSW 2011

I was going to write a post describing all of the cool looking music-oriented panels that have been proposed for SXSW 2011, but debcha at zed equals zee beat me to it.  Be sure to read Deb’s SXSWi 2011 panel proposals in music and tech post.  Some of the panels I’m looking to the most are:

Digital Music Smackdown: The Best Digital Music ServiceIn what is expected to be a heated and fiercely competitive discussion, C and VP-level executives from four digital music companies (MOG, Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody) battle it out over the title of “Best Digital Music Service.  This could be fun if it is really a smackdown, but I suspect that the execs will be very polite and complimentary of each other’s services leading to a boring panel.  I hope I’m wrong.  Also, where’s – they should be on the panel too.

We Built this App on RocknRoll: Style MattersFor an inherently auditory medium, music is ingrained with style. From 12″ artwork and niche mp3 blogs to the latest design on your sweatshirt or skate deck, music has always been analogous with visual culture. So what happens when you overlay this complex fabric of cultural values and personal identities on what is already a thorny process: building and launching a music app. – Hannah of and Anthony of Hype Machine talk about the design of music apps. These two know their stuff. Should be really interesting.

Music & Metadata: Do Songs Remain the Same? Metadata may be an afterthought when it comes to most people’s digital music collections, but when it comes to finding, buying, selling, rating, sharing, or describing music, little matters more. Metadata defines how we interact and talk about music—from discreet bits like titles, styles, artists, genres to its broader context and history. Metadata builds communities and industries, from the local fan base to the online social network. Its value is immense. But who owns it? This panel is on my Must See list.

Expressing yourself musically with Mobile Technology This is a panel with Ge Wang, founder/CTO of Smule talking about creating music on mobile devices.  Ge is an awesome speaker and gives great demo. Don’t miss this one.

Music APIs – A Choreographed Dance with Devices?This panel discussion focuses on real-world examples beyond the fundamentals or technical aspects of an API. Attend this panel and review success stories from the pros that demonstrate how an API brings content, software, and hardware together. Looks like a good Music APIs 101 for biz types.

I would be remiss if I didn’t pimp my own panels.  Be sure to consider (and maybe even comment on / vote for ) these panels:

Love, Music & APIs. Consider this to be the Music Hack Day panel. Dave Haynes (SoundCloud) and  I will talk about the impact that Music APIs are having on the world of music and how programmers will soon be the new music gamekeeper.

Finding Music With Pictures: Data Visualization for Discovery:   In this panel I’ll  look at how visualizations can be used to help people explore the music space and discover new, interesting music that they will like. We will look at a wide range of visualizations, from hand drawn artist maps, to highly interactive, immersive 3D environments.

The folks at SXSW are looking for input on these panels to help decide what makes it onto the schedule, so if any of these strike your fancy, head on over to the panel descriptions and add your comments.


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Bad Romance – the memento edition

At SXSW I  gave a talk about how computers can help make remixing music easier.  For the talk I created a few fun remixes.  Here’s one of my favorites.  It’s  a beat-reversed version of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.   The code to create it is here:

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