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Recap: LA Hacks

LA Hacks Logo

This past weekend was a big one for college hackathons. We know of three that occurred, and we attended two. First up, we have a recap of LA Hacks, which was by far the largest hackathon we've ever been to. There were a ton of great hacks, and a bunch of them even use the Rdio API! (Imagine that!)

  • Spritz Beatz
    Spritz Beatz is a great API mashup if we've ever seen one. The hack lets you put in text to read through Spritz, then looks up keywords from the text in Gracenote to find background music for your reading, and plays that music through Rdio while you read. Winner, best use of Rdio API

  • - Site
    One of the most common ideas we see at hackathons is the "Party Playlist App", which provides people some way or another to submit songs to be played next, a collaborative, real-time playlist, if you will. is one of these hacks, with a nice design, and a Twilio phone number for finding tunes. Best of all, it texts you back, letting you know the app got your request. Winner, best use of Twilio API

  • Swatch'n Music - Site
    A twist on the classic Memory game, Swatch'n Music challenges you to find a target song in a grid populated with songs of simliar genre and mood. They used the Gracenote API to populate the board with songs from Rdio. Winner, best use of the Gracenote API

  • Ballad - Site
    Twilio may have given their API prize to, but we thought Ballad took the "text a song to hear it" party playlist concept to another level. It's main distinguishing feature is that it counts votes, so if more than one person texts the same song, it'll rise to the top of the list instead of getting added twice.

  • Hear Me Out
    Hear Me Out is takes Tinder's idea of random match making, and puts a musical twist on it. Instead of being presented with a potential match's photo, you're presented with a song (provided by Rdio, natch). If you dig it, you can send a song back, and if you both like each other's songs, you can start a conversation and connect.

  • Hummly
    Hummly is a crowdsourced cover song generator, allowing anyone with enough audacity to sing portions of songs into their phone. The app then aggregates and mixes everyones singing into one full cover song. It also uses the Rdio API to provide the real version of the song for reference. Thankfully, the part of the app that aggregates everyone's singing wasn't built yet, so we didn't have to listen to the cacophony of 300 tone deaf people trying to cover Let It Go. We're hoping in version 2, they implement autotune.

  • Panda in Air - Site
    Panda in Air is a neat hack that lets you use Leap Motion to select music based on tempo. The hack uses the Gracenote API to find music of a certain tempo, and the Rdio API for playback.

  • ShitList - Site
    We were a bit confused by the name on this one. Their slogan for it is "With no other playlist will you give such a shit," even though we were expecting something entirely the opposite. The app is basically a text-to-listen playlist, but their logo has a pretty terrific artist's rendition of the esteemed pile of poop emoji. Pile of Poop

  • Moozik
    Unrelated to the bovine noises of a similar name, Moozik is actually a radio station generator that uses Gracenote for figuring out what to play, and Rdio to play it. They claim it's "the most beautiful streaming music web application of all time that suggest you music based on the artists you love." We'd be inclined to agree, but we're a little bit biased by this.

  • Mega Party Stack - Site
    An ambitious hack, Mega Stack Party intended to be the LAMP stack for your party. It provides an interface to for ordering food and booze, some tunes from Rdio, and (unimplemented, but intended) an interface to Uber to make sure everyone gets home safe.

  • CrowdBox
    CrowdBox was intended to be a voting system for jukeboxes in public spaces. At a higher level, the team wanted it to be the sort of thing people who run public spaces (like bars) could use to figure out what people want to hear over the speakers. Though the team didn't quite finish their original vision, they did get the app to play music from Rdio, and come up with a pretty elegant design.

That just about wraps up the Rdio hacks. LA Hacks was seriously the biggest hackathon we've ever seen, so while we encourage you to check out all of the hacks, we'd also recommend getting comfortable, because there are a lot of them.

Coming up next, our recap of HackIllinois!

∞  April 16, 2014 — 10:19AM


Recap: BitCamp

BitCamp Hackers

Over 700 students gathered around the camp fire at the University of Maryland's BitCamp. Students from all over took buses to the event and slept at Cole Field House. In between hacking students enjoyed s'mores, a massive pile of Jenga blocks, and playing Xbox One.

Lots of hardware was available for the students to borrow and build with, but the most talked about projects were based on the Oculus Rift.

BitCamp Hardware Checkout

Here are the projects that used the Rdio API:

  • StepSync
    An Android application that plays music to match your running pace. Your pace is measured using the phone's accelerometer and the application plays tracks with a similar BPM. Winner, best use of the Rdio API.

  • Mooddio
    Figures out your mood based on your Tweets and plays music to match it. Second best use of the Rdio API.

  • SnapdioSite, Source
    Snapchat for Rdio. Send your friends 12-second clips of tracks. The track is a mystery until you open it.

  • MLB Walk-up SongsSite, Source
    Listen to the walk-up songs for your favorite MLB team.

  • BoogieBerry
    Social jukebox that pulls four random tracks from the Billboard Hot 100 playlist and lets the party vote on which track to play next. The jukebox is powered by a RasberryPi.

  • TwidioSource
    Add tracks to a playlist via text message.

  • guIDE
    All-in-one IDE where documentation and music are available with just a few clicks.

Check out the full list of projects on ChallengePost.

BitCamp Hackers

BitCamp Mentoring

BitCamp Poster

∞  April 11, 2014 — 11:08AM


Recap: HackPrinceton

We had a great time at HackPrinceton this past weekend. Students from at least five different schools came together to hack on projects involving computer vision, revolutionizing education, and of course, audible delights. Four of the app submitted for judging used the Rdio API:

  • ShowerBuddy - Site
    ShowerBuddy makes it easier to do dangerous things with your smartphone: listen to music in the shower. Mashing up the Rdio beta JS API with the Web Speech API, the ShowerBuddy team came up with a well-designed way to control Rdio using your voice. All you have to do is figure out how to protect your smart phone from the water. Winner, best use of Rdio API

  • PinPlay
    PinPlay is a concept we've seen a few times before: geo-specific sharing of Rdio content. Their web app lets you find shared content within a two mile radius, and plays it back through our Web Playback API.

  • K-Jamz
    K-Jamz seemed like a neat karaoke app concept when we were talking to them during the hackathon. It was supposed to be a real-time karaoke app complete with live video feed. Unfortunately, we had a hard time finding them during the judging session, so we don't know how it turned out.

  • RdioMotion
    Control Rdio with the Leap Motion! Similar to K-Jamz, we had some difficulty finding the team when it was time for app judging. We assume their app worked as well as the Leap is able to detect gestures from the context of a browser.

All in all, it was a great time, and we were happy to be involved. We're looking forward to seeing all of you east coast hackers this coming weekend at BitCamp.

A complete list of the hacks is posted on ChallengePost.

∞  April 04, 2014 — 10:26AM



What: HackIllinois 2014
When: April 11 – 13, 2014
Where: Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign201 N Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801

Event location map


Recap: SXSW Music Hackathon Championship

SXSW Music Hackathon Championship

The first annual SXSW Music Hackathon Championship took place in Austin, TX during the SXSW music festival. There were almost a hundred hackers, despite the lure of live music all around us. Here are the projects that used the Rdio API:

  • SongStashSource
    SongStash allows artists to leave their songs at locations for users to listen to when they're at that location. Be sure to checkout the SongStash demo video. Winner, best use of the Rdio API.

  • Party Play
    A dynamic DJ for parties. Party Play let's party goers create a playlist for the party based on the music people already listen to. Once a party goer logs in to the application their playlist will be polled, normalized, and used to create a play list for the whole group.

  • SXSW Artist Suggestions for RdioSite, Source
    Suggests artists playing at SXSW based on artists in your Rdio collection.

Checkout the full list of projects on HackerLeague.


LA Hacks

What: LA Hacks 2014
When: April 11 – 13, 2014
Where: Pauley Pavilion @ University of California, Los Angeles301 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Event location map



What: Bitcamp 2014
When: April 4 – 6, 2014
Where: Cole Field House @ University of MarylandCole Student Activities Bldg, College Park, MD 20740

Event location map



What: HackPrinceton, Spring 2014
When: March 28 – 30, 2014
Where: Jadwin Gym @ Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ 08544

Event location map

∞  March 04, 2014 — 11:18AM


SXSW Music Hackathon Championship

What: SXSW Music Hackathon Championship
When: March 12 – 13, 2014
Where: Salon D-E @ Hilton Austin Downtown500 East 4th Street, Austin, TX

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: Penn Apps

Last weekend, Rdio attempted to attend our first ever Penn Apps. In the wake of a great time at HackRU in the fall, we were looking forward to participating in our second college hackathon. Unfortunately, our travel plans were thwarted by snowstorms, so while we still sponsored the event, we were unable to be there in person. Nevertheless, the student hackers at Penn Apps made some pretty cool apps with the Rdio API!

  • Moosic
    Moosic uses the uClassify Mood API to analyze your recent Facebook status updates to generate a playlist that matches your mood. Winner, best use of Rdio API

  • Vemote
    Use your voice and your iPhone to pick songs to play on Rdio, or videos to watch on YouTube with Vemote. The hack made use of the wit iOS SDK for voice recognition, and then plays your requested music or videos in a browser window on your computer.

  • Emacs Google Now
    A pretty nifty plugin for emacs users that lets them access and update their Google Calendar. Incidentally, the plugin also lets you toggle playback for Rdio!

  • Jukify
    This is a neat twist on a theme we've seen a lot recently: the party playlist. Jukify solves the problem by looking at the Facebook likes of all of the guests at your party and comes up with a playlist that will make everybody happy.

  • Prtio - Site
    Prtio is a different take on the party playlist, but one that we've seen at other hackathons. Combining Twilio and Rdio (and staying with the -io suffix), Prtio helps provide the soundtrack to your party by letting your guests text message an artist and a song to add the song to the playlist.

  • RunnerDJ
    RunnerDJ is an iteration of a different theme we've seen at Music Hack Days: tempo based music selection to match your running cadence. RunnerDJ is an iOS app with buttons to increase or decrease the tempo, and has a settings feature that lets you filter which genres of music you might get.

From the sounds of it, Penn Apps was a great event, and we hope to be there in person next time. A complete list of the Penn Apps hacks over on ChallengePost.