Recap Music Hack Day Groningen 2015

Music Hack Day is one of the most exciting, enjoyable and best loved hackathons happening right now. Programmers, designers and artists from all over the world come together to conceptualise, create and present their projects on music, software, mobile, hardware, art and the web – all within 24 hours. Anything goes as long as it’s music related. Chordify hosted one last week! [photography by Sythe Veenje] 

A brief history of Chordify x ESNS
Chordify was launched at the Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival in 2013. We started our own (illegal) temporary cosy bar at the main square in the Dutch city of Groningen. This is where the largest European showcase festival is being held halfway through January at the start of the new year. And we had a blast! We invited over some bands like Honig, Town Of Saints, Inge van Calkar and Paceshifters. A year later, in 2014, Chordify was really out there and still growing fast so we decided to apply for the Music Meets Tech Award. It got us into the official programme and we nearly won! It was an awesome festival as always, however we did miss doing our own gigs and the rock ’n’ roll part of the launch event.

Nowadays we have our HQ right next to the festival terrain and we felt like we really needed to contribute something music related this year. After experiencing hack days that we had attended at Deezer in Paris and at The Next Web in Amsterdam, we came back enthusiastic and inspired. We wanted to add a Music Hack Day to ESNS 2015. It combines creativity and science with music business and rock ’n’ roll! Add some really great live performances, good food and nice beers and you have the perfect event officially complementing the Eurosonic Noorderslag Conference program.

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On Thursday 15 January at 9.30 am, we welcomed the first attendees of the very first Music Hack Day Groningen. After registration, breakfast, and presentations by our API partners (Rdio, BeaTunes, Dutchband, Deezer and Chordify) the gang teamed up to work on music related hacks for the next 24 hours.

Great live music by Low Roar and Yuko Yuko
In the early afternoon, our friends from In De Kringloop recorded a great intimate session with the lovely band ‘Low Roar’ from Iceland. At night, Chordify and our co-host Deezer invited over our friends and contacts for yet another Music Hack Day Recording with the upcoming Dutch band ‘Yuko Yuko‘.

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Lovely gado gado and drinks
This time the live session was accompanied by the best ever Gado Gado meals, tasty fresh beers and a DJ set by TITIA. Over a hundred people joined this ‘invite only’ gathering as a starter for a long night at the Eurosonic Festival. Soon we will publish the first video edits of the performing bands here!

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Nice vibes and awesome hacks!
After breakfast and a freshly brewed cup of coffee, all hackers finalized their concepts and started to prepare for their presentations on Friday afternoon. The results were amazing. Below are some short descriptions of the hacks that made it to the finals at the Eurosonic Noorderslag Conference.

DJZP Tooltip‘ enables DJs to add visual layers to their musical performance. Their DJ set becomes more interactive by several body movements, e.g. the DJ has to make specific hand gestures in order to speed up a song or he could Tweet the song being played easily by clapping his hands above his head. A pretty cool extra feature in this showcase of wearable tech was an in-audience light show. The people on the dance floor wear Drome Light wristbands that are controlled by the movements of the DJ. Depending on the type of person behind the wheels of steel and the genre being played, I am pretty sure this could make a crowd go wild!

In C(offeescript)‘ is an idea inspired by the work ‘In C’ (often referred to as one of the first minimalist compositions), by Terry Riley (1964). Originally,’ In C’ consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase he or she plays and players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. With ‘In C(offeescript)’ you can now easily create a new symphony with your friends remotely. Every player gets assigned a synthesizer voice with randomized parameters. You can choose how often each part repeats before continuing to the next part. This way every performance is unique and potentially infinite.

The overall winner that got selected by our jury members Xavier Couchet (Deezer, Paris, FA), Erwin Blom (Fast Moving Targets, Amsterdam, NL) and our very own Tijmen Ruizendaal (Chordify, Utrecht, NL) was ’The Grid’. This iPad app was demoed with Daft Punk’s hit song ‘Get Lucky’ and it showed all its chords in a clear and simple interface you could push and swipe to play along. The original plan was to use Chordified songs for their output, but since Chordify doesn’t have an API yet they had to do the hack with a small set of Chordify data. The Grid perfectly shows the potential to gamify Chordify’s output by allowing the public at large to play along with chord progressions of any song available on the web!

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Please visit our Hackerleague page to see more hacks people worked on during Music Hack Day Groningen 2015.

Long story short
Music Hack Day Groningen was a great mixture of great hacks, cutting edge developers, awesome music, good food and really nice guests! Thanks to everyone attending and contributing in whatever ways. And hope to see you all soon.

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