TECHIE TUESDAY: Music Hack Day @ Stockholm 2013
As temperatures in Stockholm plummeted to degrees normally found on the North Pole, the Tastebuds team decided to brave the elements over the weekend and go to Music Hack Day at Spotify’s headquarters. The main purpose of the trip was to experiment with our Spotify app and see if we could make it a bit more fun and unique…and what better way to hyper-focus than being forced to create something in 24 hours and then present it in front of hundreds of developers from all over the world?
We managed to just escape the snow chaos in London and landed in Stockholm early afternoon Friday. The chill hit us like a brick wall as we walked off the plane, and some of us immediately regretted not bringing more clothes. Walked around in Old Town for a while but gave up fairly soon, as the cold started to feel like an ice demon slowly stroking our faces with a cheese grater.
The hack day started on Saturday morning with some introductions to all the technology behind it, and around 2pm the actual hack portion started. Spotify had tons of free food and drinks so there was no reason for anyone to leave the building for the next couple of days. We’re not 20 anymore though, so we only had the energy for 18 straight hours before we gave up and went to sleep Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon we had a look at what everyone else had managed to create overnight. Most people there came up with an idea, coded it and polished it all within 24 hours, while we ‘cheated’ a bit by already having a general concept in mind before coming over. There were some interesting concepts presented by some very talented programmers, of which some of our favourites were:
LYREBIRD – Loops sections in music so you can learn parts or lyrics from repeating what you hear.
JOGGIFY – Mobile app that slows down music if you slow down your tempo while jogging, aimed to motivate you to keep going when running.
POOR MAN’S SPOTIFY – Spotify doesn’t exist for Chromebook, so this web app allows you to search the Spotify library and then looks up the music on Youtube, bypassing the need for a native Spotify client.
ORLY – Reveals if the track you’re listening to has samples in it, or if it’s a cover of another song.
We were the last team to present our idea, and in the end we were pretty happy with what we achieved in a couple of days. So what was the idea, you ask? Well, we decided our Spotify app needed more of a ‘live’ feel to it, instead of just an extension of the website. So we came up with an idea we call ‘Blind Chat‘. Here’s what it does:
1. When you log in to our Spotify app, you see a list of all online users matching your music tastes. But their pictures are pixellated, so the only information you see is what they’re listening to, their age/gender/location and a little bit from their profile text.
2. Clicking one of the online users opens a chat request and a conversation window where you can see what the other person is listening to right now. If the other person accepts your chat invitation the chat starts.
3. The other person’s profile image continues to be pixellated until either of you requests to see the other’s picture. The other person can accept or deny, but if they accept, their profile picture is revealed and you get a first glimpse of your new friend.
The aim is to provide our users with more fun ways of meeting new people and interacting with each other. Blind Chat will be released in our Spotify app soon. Thanks to Spotify for hosting an excellent weekend, and thanks to all the talented developers who came up with fantastic ideas. Oh, and thanks to whoever invented warm clothes, they came in handy when trudging through snow in -20C.
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