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Recap: SXSW Music Hackathon Championship 2015


The SXSW Music Hackathon Championship was back for its second year. This time several artists teamed up with the hackers to collaborate on projects. The artists included Win Butler, Neon Hitch, and Robert DeLong. Here are the projects that used the Rdio API:

Crowd Jockey
Use a Microsoft Kinect to get the crowd feedback. This hack used the motion detected by the Kinect to compute the level of crowd excitement. The excitement level is then fed into MusicGraph to generate a playlist that plays via Rdio. Winner, best use of the Rdio API.

Discover local music. Uses geolocation to figure out where you are and queries The Echo Nest for a list of local artists. Also uses the Rdio API to play tracks for that artist. Winner, second best use of the Rdio API.

iOS application that queries recently played music from your account and lets you listen to it via Rdio. You can share the track with a friend by displaying a QR code on your Apple Watch. Your friend can scan the QR code and listen from their iPhone. Winner, SXSW Music Hackathon.

We The DJ
Helps you plan and play the music for your next party. When you create a party and invite your friends, they’ll receive an invitation to add music to the party’s playlist. During the party, you can use the Microsoft Kinect to control playback.

Helps you plan the playlist for your next run. During your run it uses the Microsoft Band to figure out your cadence. Post run, it queries MusicGraph to find songs that match that cadence. An Rdio playlist is created from the MusicGraph data to listen to on your next run.

Also checkout Billboard’s recap of the hack day.


SXSW Music Hackathon Championship 2015

What: SXSW Music Hackathon Championship 2015
When: March 18 – 19, 2015
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown500 East 4th Street, Austin, TX

We'll be at SXSW Music Hackathon Championship again this year. The hack day is free and open to the public. You don't need a SXSW badge, but you'll need to fill out a form to ensure you're a developer.

The event will take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Hilton Austin Downtown. The award ceremony will take place Friday evening at a separate location. See the SXSW Music Hackathon Championship website for complete details.

Event location map


Recap: Music Hack Day Groningen

Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of attending Music Hack Day at the Chordify office in Groningen, Netherlands. The hack day coincided with the epic Eurosonic Noorderslag music festival, featuring performances by nearly 200 independent artists over four days.

Though the number of hackers was small, and none of the teams wound up using the Rdio API, the quality of the hacks was great. Here's a rundown of what got built:

  • In C(offeeScript) - Site
    UThe folks over at put together this really cool hack. Using Firebase, the Web Audio API, and CoffeeScript, they implemented a browser-based performance site that allows visitors to collaborate on performing Terry Riley's "In C". Visitors can individually select which look to play, and can hear either the whole performance, or just their part through their speakers. Having multiple people visit the site on different computers in the same room gives off a Laptop Orchestra vibe, and sounds really nice. Winner, Rdio prize for Most Creative Hack

  • Mobile Arrange
    Mobile Arrange is a proof of concept iPad app that presents the user with a grid of notes to tap. Using a sample dataset from Chordify, the hack maps relevant notes to the grid based on the chords from a song, allowing you to play along, rearrange, or alter the chord voicings.

  • Flappy Music - Site
    No modern hackathon would be complete without a Flappy Bird knock off. This variation accepts a SoundCloud link, and uses the audio waveform to generate a Flappy Bird level, which you play in real-time with the song. Good luck making it to the end of the song!

  • DJZP Toolkit
    Billed as "a multi-purpose toolkit for the post-post-modern (self-employed) DJ", this Max/MSP hack combines a bunch of interesting technologies, including a Myo armband, and LED wristbands from Dutchband. The hack supports a preparation mode, allowing you to use gestures to listen to songs and add them to a playlist while you're doing other things (like making a sandwich), and a performance mode, that processes the sensed motion and audio to manipulate music and control a sea of LED wristbands.

  • tabbit - Source
    Using the same Chordify sample dataset as Mobile Arrange, the tabbit team decided to build a Guitar-Hero-in-the-browser game. Because of limitations in the dataset, the game only provided the chords' root notes, and didn't quite support audio processing, but it was a solid effort, and a cool concept.

  • Lost in Translation - Site
    Built by the evangelists of one of our competitors, Lost in Translation is a "find local artists" hack. Using your location (or the name of a location that you provide), the hack searches the Echonest for geo-relevant artists, and puts together a playlist of tunes for you to listen to.

This list of hacks is also up on Hacker League, with info provided by the hackers themselves.


Music Hack Day Groningen 2015

What: Music Hack Day Groningen 2015
When: January 15 – 16, 2015
Where: drie&zestig (Chordify HQ)Boterdiep 63, 9712 LK Groningen, The Netherlands

Start 2015 off right at Music Hack Day Groningen. Register at both Eventbrite and Hacker League. See you there!

Event location map


Recap: Music Hack Day Boston 2014

Music Hack Day Boston 2014 took place during a chilly, but lovely weekend in Microsoft's NERD building. A happy collection of hackers were in attendance and the event went smoothly from start to finish.

The hacks at this event were music-creation focused. The Seaboard folks were in attendance and the boards brought were put to excellent use, the Sea of Grain hack just being one example. Other hacks of note were auditory.vim which (almost) makes me want to learn how to use the Vim environment and the Keplerphone which lets you listen to the music of the stars.

There were a good number of Rdio users in attendance and a couple of fun Rdio hacks produced:

  • JukeApp - GitHub, Demo video
    Automagically create dynamic music playlist based on who is in the room. Winner, best use of Rdio API

  • Aardvark - Site
    A playlist generator based on Twitter mentions

  • Meydio
    Uses the Meyda JS library to visualize audio data on Rdio in Chrome

All in all the crowd and demos were top notch. The bus trip at the start of the night from the Microsoft office to the Spotify office proved to be a great bonding experience. Definitly looking forward to Music Hack Day Boston 2015!

A list of all of the hacks is up at Hacker League.


Music Hack Day Boston 2014

What: Music Hack Day Boston 2014
When: November 8 – 9, 2013
Where: Microsoft N.E.R.D Center1 Memorial Dr #1, Cambridge, MA 02142

Join us in Boston again for another exciting Music Hack Day! While you wait in eager anticipation for the event, why not check out the hacks from MHD Bostin 2013 and 2012!

Event location map


Recap: Music Hack Day Amsterdam 2014


The Amsterdam chapter of Music Hack Day has been going strong for a while now. This weekend marked the fourth annual event, and as always, the environment and the hacks were nothing short of inspiring. People worked on formant synthesizers, web audio and web MIDI synthesizers. The Axoloti project, which was started at the first MHD Amsterdam showed off some great DIY hardware tricks, and one team even hacked together a bunch of digitally controlled actuators for a trumpet. You can check out the full list of hacks on Hacker League (link at the bottom), but before you do, check our our rundown of the hacks built with Rdio.

  • MiXTee
    MiXTee is a service concept that lets you print out t-shirts adorned with your favorite album covers them. Connect to Rdio to grab your favorite playlist, use the MiXTee editor to organize the album art on your shirt, and click “Go” to have a t-shirt printing company print and mail you your shirt. The back of the shirt also has a QR code to point people you encounter on the street over to your playlist. Winner, best use of the Rdio API

  • lyrics sun burst
    A mashup between Rdio and musiXmatch, Lyrics Sunburst provides a new way to visualize the lyrics to whatever you’re listening to at the moment. Verses and stanzas are organized radially in a sunburst, while the current line shows on the right.

  • Epic Shuffle
    Have you ever wished you could shuffle Rdio’s entire catalog? Well, you’re in luck, because Epic Shuffle is an iPhone app that does exactly that! Using a cryptographically safe random number generator, the app pumps out a completely random stream of tracks, with absolutely zero guarantee of cohesion from one track to the next.

  • Linkfire
    The Linkfire team is working on a musical web widget / link aggregator for the tweeting and the blogging. For Music Hack Day, they incorporated into their widget the Rdio API for playback, and musiXmatch for lyrics.

See the whole list on Hacker League.


Recap: Rdio Internal Hack Day 10

Every quarter Rdio takes two days to let engineering and design team's creative side run wild with an internal hack day. The team builds prototypes in two days, skipping most of our normal engineering process. None of these projects are ready to be deployed but, some of these features may make it onto our road map.

We enjoy these hack days as a chance to work with folks outside our team, in parts of the code we normally don't get a chance to, and exploring crazy silly ideas.

Checkout the list of projects from Rdio Hack Day 10:

  • Rdio Scratch
    Sometimes simply pausing a track isn't enough. Add this bookmarklet to your browser and click on it the next time you're listening to Rdio.

Nearby Concerts Screenshot

  • Nearby Concerts
    A new Home story that shows you upcoming concerts in your area. Lets you listen to the artist's station and has a link to buy tickets.

iOS 8 Notification Center Widget Screenshot

  • iOS 8 Notification Center Widget
    Adds an Rdio widget to the new iOS Notification Center. Displays a selection of your recently played albums and stations so you can easily start listening. Also contains a quick launch bar letting you easily jump to You FM, Favorites, Playlists, and Search.

  • iOS 8 Notification Actions
    Added a play notification action so you can start listening without switching applications.

  • Custom Homepage
    Rather than using Home as your default landing page, lets you pick something else such as Favorites, Trending, or New Releases.

  • Review Flagging
    See an inappropriate review on Rdio? This hack added a button to send the review to the support team.

  • Playlist Watching
    Receive a notifications whenever a track is added to a playlist you're subscribed to.

  • Precache
    This hack pre-calculates certain requests before they are needed. This resulted in faster response times when the user actually needed it.

  • Rdio Lite
    A fresh implementation of the Rdio web client using React, JSX, and ECMAScript 6.


  • Rdioke
    A simple and well designed karaoke player. Search is limited to karaoke albums.

  • Logstash
    A test of using Logstash, Elastic Search, and Kibana to aggregate and analyze server logs.

  • Audio Preview
    Sometimes you want to sample a song without adding it to your queue. This web client hack lets you preview songs by hovering over artwork in Home, Trending, and New Releases.

  • Multi-select Tracks
    Sometimes you want to add multiple tracks to your queue or to a playlist. Works using the standard ctl+click and shift+click actions.

  • Soundtrack to Right Now
    A new Home story that uses your location, the time of day, and the weather to suggest stations to listen to.

  • Share Replies
    Allows you to converse back and forth with your friends when you share content with them.

  • Bandito
    A system that uses the multi-armed bandit algorithm to run tests.

  • Vagrant Up
    Launch a fully configured Rdio development environment with a simple vagrant up.


Music Hack Day Amsterdam

What: Music Hack Day Amsterdam
When: October 10 – 12, 2014
Where: Rockstart Accelerator HQ182 Herengracht, Amsterdam, NH 1016 BR

Event location map


Recap: Music Hack Day Berlin 2014

Music Hack Day Berlin just wrapped up last Saturday and it was spectacular. One of the first Music Hack Days was held in Berlin back in 2009. Given the turnout, hopefully, we wont have to wait wait as long for the next one.

MHD Starts

The event was hosted at the Axel Springer Plug & Play Accelerator, an appropriately sized venue with walls covered in what can best be called "interesting" graffiti/art. Turnout was impressive with around 200 folks, 80 of which came from outside Germany.

Hacking started Friday morning, went all through the night, and ended mid-day Saturday. Despite the beautiful weather outside, the hackers were persistent! There were a number of great Rdio hacks making the selection of just one winning project quite difficult.

MHD at 3:30am

  • Commit Beat - Site
    Looking at recent commits, GitHub user names are compared to usernames, allowing you to listen to the tracks fellow developers were listening to at time of commit. Just click on a row to kick off playback via Rdio.
    Winner, best use of Rdio API
    Winner (tie), audience favorite

  • Augmented Shuffle - Site
    A site that crafts an interesting playlist for you and shows the logic behind track selection. Augmented Shuffle Team

  • theRdioNest - Site
    Lets you look up artists and relevant info about them- bios, listen to top top tracks, and see related artists.

  • VR Rdio - Site, Source
    Displays the top New Releases from Rdio in 3D space using Google Cardboard. Lets you jump right into an album and start listening.

  • Retuned
    Highlights the best parts of your listening history and allows you to listen via Rdio.

  • Penultimate Radio
    A custom recommendation system that builds an evolving station for you to listen to. Penultimate Radio Team

    Overall the selection of projects had a good blend of software and hardware. Along with all the APIs available folks brought their own instruments, a Seaboard was made available to hackers, a game made, and a number of digital instruments were created. With great projects, great food, and a great staff it was a model Music Hack Day.

    Creative Hackers

    A list of all of the hacks is up at Hacker League.