Last weekend, Russ Hall and I travelled to Berlin for the latest in the series of Music Hack Day events. Having been to previous ones in Stockholm and London, I was looking forward to the usual mix of creativity and collaboration that these events are famous for.
For those that don’t know, Music Hack Day is a chance for programmers, designers, artists, etc, to get together and create new and exciting music hacks based on the latest APIs from top music tech companies (or they can just use a soldering iron and some knitting needles). It’s always amazing to see what a room full of talented people can come up with in just 24 hours and this one was no different.
First up at a Music Hack Day are the API presentations. This is where music tech companies pitch their APIs and it’s also an opportunity to announce new features for devs to get stuck into straight away. We were there to present our API and the addition of our beta realtime API.
After this, everyone fuelled up on Club-Mate and set about hacking. I played with a few side projects while Russ joined up with Tim Bormans of Soundcloud and Jens Nikolaus (designer of the much sought after Music Hack Day Berlin tote bag with Kristina Schneider) to create Sleev.in, an album obsession sharing site.
The amount of sleep you get over the Saturday night depends on how well your hack goes and/or how ambitious you were and at around 2pm on the Sunday, around 24 hours after you’d have started, it’s time to put down your laptop and present what you’ve done.
The hack demos are always fun to attend and see what everyone else has been making.
Some notable Last.fm related hacks were Lastcred.fm which would, to make your Last.fm profile look trendier, scrobble several random tracks for you based on a tag or artist of your choice (not something we really approve of, but it amused us nonetheless), Tractor which pulled in Last.fm data to help with displaying artist info for mentions of an artist on a web page, and RealTimeSentiTweetGagasm which used our realtime API.
Other favourites of mine were Heavy Shoes which used an Xbox Kinect sensor to detect foot stomps and then play drum noises (something I want to be doing at home very soon), and Eigendrums which also triggered drum sounds, but this time by detecting the sound of you clicking, slapping your leg, and thumping your chest. Both crowd pleasing impressive demos.
You can find the complete list of hacks here.
If any of this interested you then why not think about attending a Music Hack Day! The next one is in Barcelona in a few weeks, but they crop up fairly regularly.