Nerds Ditch Grammys for New York's First Music Hackday

With more references to Justin Bieber than a Valentine’s day party at an all-girls Canadian middle school, Music Hackday rolled into New York City this past weekend. Event organizers John Britton and Dave Haynes noted this had been the biggest Music Hack Day yet, with 72 demos. Hundreds of hackers showed up and a waiting list of hopefuls swelled to 300. Hacks included invisible iPhone instruments, Kinect hacks, web-based sequencers and SMS valentines day tributes.

Hundreds of devs and tech cognoscenti made the event a win for the burgeoning tech scene in New York as well as event host, General Assembly – Music Hackday marked the first public event of New York’s latest, plushest tech coworking space. Sponsorship even had some local flavor with equipment and prizes offered by beloved Mac shop Tekserve, as well as startups ExFM, Hunch and Boxee.

The audience soldiered through the two and a half hours of demos, selecting three winners via a Twilio sms voting system. A list of winners and favorites follows.


Invisible… Stuff Tim Soo – An “invisible” violin played by bowing with a Wiimote and fingering with an iPhone. Video here.

Djtxt Dan Aminzade – Set up a crowdsourced party playlist in one click.

Stringer – Aidan Feldman, Tyler Williams, and Alex Chen – A virtual string instrument played with a Kinect 3d camera

More interesting hacks

Automatic DJ Ben Gleitzman, Brian Brennan – Clever hack that uses facial recognition to build and play a custom music playlist based on the taste of the people recognized.

Boxee Music Quiz John McCann, Roberto Osorio-Goenaga – Parse a user’s iTunes db and create a Boxee playable quiz based on questions custom generated from the music library.

Snowball Colin Raffel – Hilarious. A web app to create “hype” for a new music release by aggregating relevant emails of music bloggers and sending them download links which require them to help spread the word.

Screaminator Uri Nieto – Another crowd favorite. iPhone app that determines whether you are screaming or not. Scream, Rate, Share.

MashMe Jon Gottfried – A personalized music mashup generator using Hunch and EchoNest.

JSONloops Marak Squires, Elijah Insua, hij1nx – Fruity Loops in a webpage.

Fans Forever and Ever Greg Sabo – Auto create Geocities-like “fan” pages for any artist replete with weird poetry, quotes and ominous warning signs.

Familiar.js Arkadiy Kukarkin – Easily Enter your favorite microgenre Witch House Bandnames into any search field.

Full list of all hacks