Yes we Cannes!

3rd February 2012 by Suzie Blackman

I’m MOO’s Senior User Experience Designer, but in a past life I was a web developer. I love technology and spent much of my spare time writing code and developing my own ideas. When I was given the opportunity to take part in a Music Hack Day at MIDEM in glamorous Cannes, I jumped at the chance. MIDEM is one of the biggest music conferences in the world, with a big focus on creative innovation – just like at MOO.

So, what exactly is a hack day? “Hacking” has a bad image, but this kind of hacking is nothing to do with the hacking you’ve seen in films. A hack day is an opportunity to build something new, in this case music related, in a short space of time, collaborating with people from different companies, with different skills, without the constraints that we all have in our everyday roles. At the end of the event, everyone gets to show and talk about their hack. Some might eventually get developed into real-world applications but that’s not the purpose of the of a hack day, it’s more of an experiment.

30 hackers took part in the MIDEM hack day from all over the world. It was especially nice that several music tech start-ups from our East London neighbourhood were represented. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to build when I arrived, so I teamed up with Becky from Codasign who brought along some hardware that looked really interesting; a small LCD screen, an Arduino controller and a Bluetooth receiver. We thought it would be a nice idea to use the display as a kind of badge showing in the real world the music the wearer was listening to, with visualisations based on the tempo and mood of the track.

Here is the video we made for our hack demo:

Badgify – MIDEM Hack 2012 from Becky Stewart on Vimeo.

18 hacks were created during the event using a diverse range of technologies and ideas. Highlights are on the MIDEM blog and the full list of hacks are on the music hack day website. We presented our hacks to a packed room of music industry professionals and had a huge amount of interest in what we were doing.

It was a fantastic experience, I am inspired and awed by my fellow hackers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, and the level of innovation that’s going on within the music tech community. Thanks are owed to Dave Haynes from SoundCloud and Martyn Davies from Six Two Productions for organising the hack day and MIDEM for sponsoring the event.

And the highlight of the weekend? The once-in-a-lifetime experience of catching DJ Jazzy Jeff playing in a small club. What a party!

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