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Photo: Paul Lamere (left) with Music Hack Day’s co-founder Dave Haynes (© Thomas Bonte)

 

This year, we are celebrating Midem Hack Day’s 5th anniversary! Starting today, we’ll publish a series of interviews with the creators behind some of the best hacks Cannes has witnessed in the past five years. Let’s start with Paul Lamere, director of developer platform Echonest, a division of Spotify. He took part in the first ever Midem Hack Day, in 2011, to present an app inspired by a tech-obsessed artist who was on the Croisette that year…

 

midemblog: Could you please describe the hack you developed? 

Paul Lamere: I built in app called Six Clicks to Imogen. The hack is a game where the goal is to find the shortest path from a randomly selected artist to Imogen Heap based upon the artist collaboration network. To build the hack I used the Musicbrainz artist relationship data to find all the artist connections, and plotted the graph with the JavaScript Infoviz toolkit . The game has about 55,000 artist nodes that are connected to Imogen by millions of artist relationship edges.

Imogen Midem Hack Day

 

Why did you decide to make this hack in particular? What problem were you aiming to solve?

The Midem Music Hack Day is special in that the hackers often get to meet and work with artists. Imogen Heap was at the event and that inspired me to build a hack that based upon her connections and collaborations. I was trying to make an artist-specific game that was fun to play while at the same time helped the player explore and discover new music.

 

What other hacks or innovations inspired your hack, if any?

The hack is inspired by the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in which you try to connect any movie or actor to Kevin Bacon.

 

What was the hardest thing about making it?

The biggest challenge was trying to make a game that was fun.  I’m not a game developer so ‘fun’ is not part of my normal hacker toolkit. I’m not sure if I succeeded or not.

 

What happened to the hack since? 

The hack is still online believe it or not (I was certainly surprised to find it still running). You can try it out here. There’s a video of it as well:

 

The hack served as a stepping stone to other hacks such as the popular Six Degrees of Black Sabbath!

 

This is the first post in a series celebrating the fifth anniversary of Midem Hack Day, which will return next Midem, June 2015!

 


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