Music Hack Day is coming to Toronto on Saturday, August 10th and Sunday, August 11th! An event that’s taken place in many cities all over the world, Music Hack Day is when people with different skills and talents — programmers, musicians, designers and artists, to name a few — get together to brainstorm and quickly build prototypes of interesting musical creations. It’s happening here, and it’s free!
Here’s what their registration site says:
Music Hack Day is a hacking session in which participants will conceptualize, create and present their projects. Music + software + mobile + hardware + art + the web. Anything goes as long as it’s music related.
This is the first time that Music Hack Day has come to Toronto! We’re calling on all programmers, designers and artists to come and help us build the future of music.
Music Hack Day has been a great way to demonstrate the creativity around music that comes from the tech community, fostering cross-platform and cross-device innovation.
What’s It Like?
Music Hack Day is whatever the participants (everyone who attends is a participant — there are no spectators) make it out to be. The best way to get a feel for what it’s like is to look at some past Music Hack Days in other cities.
Music Hack Day London took place in their Facebook office in November 2012. Some of the goodies that were created in the 24 allotted hours were:
- Barbertron: A software-based audio processor that turns a solo voice into a barbershop quartet.
- Johnny Cash Has Been Everywhere: What happens when you mash-up Google Maps and I’ve Been Everywhere (it’s not his song, but his version’s probably the best-known)? This.
Music Hack Day Stockholm happened in January. Here are a couple of interesting projects from that event:
- Super Mutroid: A Metroid-themed platform-jumper videogame that generates levels based on the music you give it; you jump over and duck under obstacles to the beat.
- The Sampler Formerly Known as Magnum Infinity takes a folder of MP3s, looks for samples with a reasonably pure pitch and assembles those samples into a musical instrument.
- Joggify is a mobile exercise music app that plays music at regular speed while you keep jogging, but slows it down as you slow down and slack off. Stop jogging, and the music stops completely.
Music Hack Day Reykjavik gave the world:
- Droplocker: Lets you stream MP3 stored in your Dropbox and play them through Spotify.
- Glovesynth: A glove-controlled synthesizer.
- Daft Hanger: An amusing project that takes a Raspberry Pi, a MaKey MaKey and coat hangers to let you customize your very own version of Daft Punk’s Harder Better Faster Stronger:
Here are some goodies from Music Hack Day Boston:
Specklesounds is a sound generator based on Specklesense hardware.
Bohemian Rhapsichord takes snippets from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and turns them into a full-screen sample playing instrument. Get your hands on a big-ass toucscreen start jamming!
And then there’s Drinkify. Tell it what you’re listening to, and it’ll suggest a cocktail.
There’s been at least one Music Hack Day project that became a full-on commercially-available product: Arpeggionome!
Okay, I’m Sold. What’s Up with Music Hack Day Toronto?
Music Hack Day Toronto is being put together by Toronto Ruby development shop (and excellent putter-together of amazing conferences) Unspace, along with Soundcloud, Rdio and The Echo Nest. It’ll take place at the Glass Factory, located at 99 Sudbury Street (nearest major intersection is Queen and Dufferin).
Here’s the official description of the event, taken from their “About” page:
- To fast prototype and create brand new music apps (web, mobile or physical) in just24hrs.
- To bring together the music industry and the developer community.
- To highlight and showcase the platforms and API’s of companies working in and around music tech.
- To foster cross-platform and cross-device innovation.
- Taken place in 17 cities in different countries: London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Boston, San Francisco, Stockholm, Barcelona, Cannes, New York City, Denver, Philadelphia, Paris, Vienna, Reykjavík, Edinburgh, Sydney & Montreal.
- Over 1.200 people taken part including developers and invited members of press/music industry.
- Over 60 companies officially involved and associated with Music Hack Day.
- Over 200 apps built during Music Hack Days, some of them launched commercially.
The sponsors and API providers for the event are:
- Soundcloud: Online audio hosting and distribution.
- Rdio: Music streaming service with a big-ass linrary.
- The Echo Nest: A powerful music search engine that lets you search for songs by artist, similar artist, who’s hot, tempo, key and lots of other criteria.
- Semantria: Text analytics and sentiment analysis. If you didn’t know that the Kinks’ song Lola was a bout a dude (I’ve met such people), Senatria will tell you.
- GigaTools: An API for search for who’s having a live gig, where, and when.
- LyricFind: A song lyrics search engine, powered by a lot of agreements with music publishers.
I Can’t Make This Event, But You Should Go!
An event like this — one that mixes music, technology, and the chance to hang out with old and new friends — has my name written all over it, but alas, I’m going to be out of town. I may be missing out, but that means you shouldn’t. If you’ve been dying to work on a music+tech project, go sign up for Music Hack Day Toronto! And once again, it’s free-as-in-beer!
This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.