One of the 50+ projects to spring from this weekend's Music Hack Day, Free Music Archive Radio is essentially the template for a Creative Commons Pandora. Enter the name of any artist, and FMA Radio taps into the Echo Nest's musical brain to generate a similar playlist from the FMA's curated library of 40,000+ legal mp3s. Tweak your station further with Mood and Style parameters, and/or Creative Commons license filters.
Despite the fact that it's just a demo (works best on Chrome, not so well on Firefox) FMA Radio has already been written up in evolver.fm, the Dutch blog Muziek & de bibliotheek, and Germany's Progolog. Its awesomeness is enhanced by the fact that it's html5 (plays nice with iPhone/iPad), it's open source, and it was built over the course of 24-hours (whoa!). I spent much of the weekend hanging out with FMA Radio's creators Jeremy Sawruk, Robby Grodin (ConductiveIO) and Julie Vera, the Music Hack Day veterans whose previous projects include Sawruk's Feedtunes (turns Twitter trends into playlists based on song lyrics) and Grodin's Toscanini gestural interface. In addition to releasing open source code, Sawruk and Grodin are Creative Commons musicians, and they've really done an incredible service to the community via FMA Radio.
Music Hack Day is a series of music/tech gatherings fueled in large part by APIs. After the big news last month that FMA's API had been revamped and mapped to the Echo Nest's Rosetta Stone leading up to WFMU's Radiovision Festival, this weekend introduced the FMA to the mother of all music hacking events. It was fantastic to take part -- some highlights after the jump:
* FMA Player takes a similar approach to FMA Radio, but utilizes Echo Nest's dynamic playlisting functions so that you can steer the direction of the playlist on the fly. For example, you could have the tempo speed up over time, or increase the danceability and then slow things down. The hack is still in the works but seemed to have a nifty GUI that should be fun to play with once it's up and running.
* For Unity - Echo Nest, David Nunez applied the same dynamic filters (i.e. tempo, energy, danceability, loudness, mood, style, a whole list of them at right) to create an on-the-go soundtrack plugin for Unity, the free 3-D development environment for video games, animations, and architectural visualizations.
* Kinetic is a web app for animating text in sync with a piece of music, utilizing the Echo Nest's Remix API for beat analysis and music from the FMA. This video explains (with music by Manuel Atzeni):
Other incredible hacks to come from this weekend include
* Bohemian Rhapsichord -- turns the song into a musical instrument
* Drinkify -- enter an artist, it gives you a mixed drink
* Peachnote Melody Auto-Completion -- for when you can't finish that composition (this one was controversial!)
* Name That Tune Jeopardy -- vote using the SMS service Twilio
* SnugGIFy -- Synchronize the internet's greatest art form (animated GIFs) with a song of your choice. Station Manager Ken, you're gonna like this one.
* Tracker -- Connect your turntable to the digital world. Automatically identifies tracks, saves mp3s, and scrobbles plays, while displaying a beautiful UI that's visible from across the room, or across the web.
* The Videolizer -- syncs some of youtube's finest clips of people dancing to any song, example below