Music Hack Day Bologna Spawns ‘Instagram’ Filters for Music

October 10, 2013

As a founding sponsor of the Music Hack Day series, where music tech wizards around the globe gather to build amazing, functional hacks by joining various APIs with their own creativity, we were looking forward to seeing what folks came up with at Music Hack Day Bologna.

We were not disappointed. The legend of Music Hack Day runs strong in Italy. About half of the hacks there used The Echo Nest’s API, which you can see our own Nicola Montecchio present above.

The winner of The Echo Nest’s award for excellence was MusicCamera, by Francesco Rossi. This cross-media social music iOS app chooses the right Instagram-style filter for any photograph based on what song is playing on your iPhone or around you (by using the mic). To accomplish this bit of magic, the app runs each song through The Echo Nest’s deep music intelligence to ascertain the track’s energy and emotional valence — then maps that to the appropriate filter.

As this demonstration shows, the app even slaps a Daft Punk helmet on your head if that’s what you’re listening to, which is a neat trick, but the more emotion-driven filters are potentially more interesting:

Here are some examples of how it treats the same photo depending on what music is playing:


Other hacks of note to emerge from Music Hack Day Bologna include:

  • carceezer: This web app simply asks you to enter a topic and a location. It then mines Twitter for tweets about that topic from that location, distills those tweets into a mood with sentiment140, and plays the perfect song for that mood on Deezer using The Echo Nest. The result: You can listen to how people in a place feel about a thing.

  • Speed Music: Music Hack Day Bologna featured something we haven’t seen at previous events: a TechnoGym, which is an Android-powered exercise machine. Speed Music combines The Echo Nest and TechnoGym to mash up the songs in your playlists depending on your heartbeat and how fast you’re exercising, using our Remix API.

  • junkaster: To create a Spotify playlist out of songs in a certain key, all you need to do is play a single note on a guitar. In the demonstration, this was a junky old Stratocaster (thus the hack’s name). Finally, the DJ scene meets the guitar scene?

  • wedify: Mattia Tommasone is getting married. He can’t DJ the wedding and reception, because he’ll be busy. Rather than finding someone else to helm the DJ controls, he created this hack to let his wedding guests pick the music by importing Spotify playlists into a web app.

We’re looking forward to more Music Hack Days even now — to stay in the loop on those and other matters of importance, please follow us on Twitter.

(Top photo courtesy of The Echo Nest / Paul Lamere; Bottom image courtesy of Francesco Rossi)