Last Saturday, the 8th Music Hack Day kicked off in London. Music Hack Day is a gathering of software developers and coders working on music related projects. Since July 2009 all the smartest minds in music technology come together to hack on small projects that might determine the future of music on the internet. They tap into the API platforms of services such as Last.fm, Soundcloud and The Echonest to make new interesting mash-ups.
The meeting started with presentations of the services and APIs of some of the biggest players in the field. Among them were representatives of Soundcloud, Songkick, 7digital, Last.fm, The Echo Nest, the BBC and British telecom operator O2.
One of the major announcements was the availability of playlists in The Echo Nest API. This basically means that you can create playlists based upon all Echo Nest data, both on the artist and on the song level.
The Echo Nest gathers all sort of data about music. They crawl the web for blog posts, reviews, biographies etc. on artists and songs. They also analyze the music with regard to tempo, key, time signature, etc. With the recently added playlist features you can now create very specific playlist, such as a radio playlist for Weezer, with tracks similar to Weezer but which never plays tracks by Muse, or a 20 song playlist of popular music from diva's in he 70s sorted by increasing tempo.
Earlier this week The Echo Nest announced the integration of their platform with the API from digital distributor 7Digital. This means that 7digital song IDs are now integrated into The Echo Nest's API and that you can retrieve an Echo Nest audio analysis of any 7digital track.
The Echo Nest does't offer any consumer oriented services. Their enormous database can be retrieved by companies and developers to create their own consumer apps.
At the end of the weekend about 60 hacker teams demoed their 24 hour creation. Speakatron and Earthdistroyers won the prizes of main sponsor O2. The hilarious Speakatron is a program that looks at you through your web cam and plays a sound when you open your mouth. Earth Destroyers will show you the eco-friendliness of a band's touring schedule. Other promising hacks were Gowalla for Soundcloud (check in with Gowalla to a particular venue and get a free SoundCloud stream/download), I was there (make a custom t-shirt with all the gigs that you went to) and Auto Score Tubing (find a great musical performance on YouTube and synchronize it automatically with a music score).