Back for its third consecutive edition, midem Hack Day sees a group of the world’s finest music developers hunker down for 48 hours, in the Palais. Their mission? Create a fun, clever or useful (or all three) website, service or application, with which to wow delegates at a big reveal session on Monday (11.00, Innovation Factory). Why? Hack Day participants MIR/sound software engineer, Amélie Anglade of SoundCloud (photo); and Songkick developers Vivien Barousse & Aaron Randall answered our questions…
midemblog: Why did you submit for midem hack day?
Amélie: I am addicted to hackathons, and particularly to those that involve music or audio. I like the energy, collaborative spirit and freedom that such events bring. I am always amazed by what we developers, but also designers and artists, can build over a week-end. The craziest ideas are turned into beautiful music applications. For me it’s always a great opportunity to try out new technologies, get to work with new people and implement applications I would not find the time to work on otherwise.
Vivien: Hack days are a good opportunity to meet other hackers interested in the music industry, and spend time to try out new ideas, exchange with other people, and build cool projects.
Aaron: I’m really interested in the crossover between music and technology, and hack days give me time to concentrate fully on an idea without other distractions, and hopefully build something cool in the process.
What sort of hack do you expect to do?
Amélie: I am a backend engineer focusing mostly on machine learning algorithms to solve complex problems such as search, recommendation and automatic analysis of the audio signal. So I often try to provide such features in the hacks I collaborate on. This time I feel like using them again but with a twist. It could be an app telling you the music you really don’t want to hear (so that you don’t waste time) or how inefficient your jogging playlist is to exercise.
Vivien: I don’t have any fixed idea yet, but would like to work on a project related to live show ticketing.
Aaron: I’m not sure yet. I have a spare Arduino board lying around, and haven’t played with hardware hacks much, so that could be interesting. Hopefully I’ll have a good idea soon.
How is hacking positive for the music industry?
Amélie: Hacking in our case means developing, implementing or programming and all that in a very short time-frame. It allows developers, designers and artists to meet, brainstorm and collaboratively build awesome applications, devices and performances. Since the time-frame is so short it also means that all ideas can be tried out freely, even those that sounds useless or crazy. The music industry can only benefit from such hacking as great music business ideas and new ways of interacting and consuming music are likely to emerge at such events.
Vivien: Hacking is a good way of building new projects, to innovate and spend time working on great ideas we are passionate about, outside of everyone’s daily job.
Aaron: I think any kind of innovation or problem solving is positive for an industry, even more so for the music industry, which is infamous for its reluctance to embrace new trends and technologies. New ideas from outside the music industry can help to improve it. Just as a technology company (not a record label) build the iPod, and helped to introduce DRM-free digital downloads, hacks can help to solve other as-yet unfulfilled requirements for music consumers.
Check back here on Monday morning, when we’ll reveal the fruits of the hackers’ labours!