By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Before each year’s SXSW, experts from various fields anoints a new generation of SXSW Accelerator winners out of a pool of finalists chosen from the crop of startups looking to make a big impression to the music and technology industries.
Over 500 web startups applied this year, according to SXSW, and those were winnowed down to 48 finalists. On March 8, a panel of experts will pick the 18 best startups. The next day, those 18 startups will present their stuff to a whole different panel of judges, with both events taking place in front of a live audience of SXSW attendees.
Emcees include former Apple CEO John Sculley, my Wired.com digital-music-reporting predecessor Brad King, and Laurie Segall from CNN, while many of the judges hail from the venture capitalism community, making it likelier that finalists and winners get enough fund to become something you might use — maybe even before SXSW 2015.
Given SXSW’s origin as a music festival, we were a bit surprised that only six of the 48 finalists directly or indirectly have something to do with the music scene.
We figured we’d take a look. Here are the at-least-somewhat-music-related finalists from the SXSW Accelerator 2014:
“Artiphon is a music hardware startup combining advanced sensor technology, iOS, and traditional craftsmanship. Designed in Nashville, Artiphon’s first product is an ergonomic multi-instrument, playable in a variety of positions and configurable for any style.”
Music applications: performance, recording, fun
sonarDesign, Austin, Texas
“Sonar enables creative professionals to easily create, share, publish, monetize, promote and support immersive micro-apps using only a modern browser. Our integrated user engagement engine provides detailed analytics surpassing third party solutions commonly used with native apps.”
Music applications: distributed storefronts, promotion
Plantiga, North Vancouver, Canada
“Plantiga has hacked your shoe, designing the most advanced footwear platform on the planet. The patented technology is smart, personalized and focused on performance. It generates robust real-time movement data; made for apps in health, sports, analytics, biometrics and location.”
Music applications: exercise synchronization, motivation, less UI
OP3Nvoice, Austin, Texas
“OP3Nvoice makes sense of the spoken word. It’s a set of APIs, SDKs and plugins that enables developers, entrepreneurs and corporate problem solvers to add audio and video search to any application with just a few lines of code.”
Music application: hands-free music requests in the car and via wearable technology
Bionym, Toronto, Canada
“In September 2013, Bionym launched its inaugural product, the Nymi. The Nymi is a wearable device that authenticates users through their unique cardiac rhythm, and communicates identity wirelessly for seamless and dynamic interaction with technology.”
Music application: heartbeat music interfaces like this
Kiwi Wearable Technologies, Toronto, Canada
“Toronto-based Kiwi Wearable Technologies builds products which help wearers enjoy happier and healthier lives. At SXSW Kiwi will showcase the fashionable, multi-functional ‘Kiwi Move’ which enables wearers to seamlessly interact with their environments, elegantly simplifying and optimizing their daily lives.”
Music applications: Among other things, the Kiwi Move will let its wearers draw musical notes in the air to identify songs around them, like this: