SXSW Interactive: Music Hack Day

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Anyone looking for signs of life in the music industry concerning technology and innovation should take a look into Music Hack Day. Since July 2009, in various cities around the world including London, Berlin, Boston and San Francisco, the 24-hour coding marathon serves as a experimental lab for new digital music applications and technology.

Initially organised by David Haynes of music listening platform Soundcloud and developer James Darling, the event brings together web developers and hackers who have a passion for music and building software. The term “hacker” implies a illegal operative who sits in a basement and breaks into computer systems. For the purposes of this event, it’s more a case of a collaborative community using open source software to make cool new apps with the help of APIs (application programming interfaces) from companies like Last.FM, Soundcloud, Songkick and more.

Haynes along with The Echo Nest’s Matthew Ogle gave a talk at South By Southwest where they discussed how “developers are crucial to the future of music”. They then demoed some of the fascinating applications that have come out of the 12 Music Hack Days so far which confirms just how vital developers are to music, whether for future applications or just for kicks:

Invisible Instruments

Proving that technology can replace physical instruments, this hack used a Nintendo Wii controller and an iPhone to accurately recreate violin, guitar, piano and more using hand gestures and air-guitar moves.

Bragging Rights

Settles the argument once and for all between mates about who heard your favourite band first. This hack takes Last.FM user data, your chosen artist and spits out a winner.

Six Degrees

Like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon find the links between any two artists.

Earth Destroyers

Find out how earth-friendly your favourite band’s touring schedule is.
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Band of Blogs: Four Tet, Burial & Thom Yorke, The National, just a number 05272011 & more

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The best music on the web this week…

Four Tet, Burial & Thom Yorke

Three musical visionairies combine for a limited vinyl-only release featuring two new songs of atmospheric dubstep and electronic productions.
Listen at Gorilla vs. Bear

Solange, Twin Shadow & Chris Taylor’s charity song

Beyoncé’s sister, Twin Shadow and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor team up for a charity single to raise funds for the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), an organisation aiming to bring drinking water to two million people in Africa by 2015.

The National’s new song

Written for the movie Win Win, Think You Can Wait is the Brooklyn-based band at their slow-burning best.

The National – Think You Can Wait by weallwantsome1

just a number 05272011

Whether that’s a band name or a cryptic date-based message is up for debate but there’s no doubting the intrigue is high after their The Knife-esque electro tune He Didn’t Want A Love Song was picked up by music bloggers last week.

Listen & Download at ABeano

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Lost pictures of New York blizzard returned

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Todd Bieber found a mystery roll of film after the New York blizzard recently. After posting some photos online in an attempt to find the owner of the roll, Bieber finally tracked down the owner who was a student from France. The video documents Bieber’s trip across Europe to return it.

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