Music Hack Day SF 2013 Recap

This weekend we hosted 175 hackers for Music Hack Day San Francisco in our office for the third consecutive year. Music Hack Day is a unique event—it doesn’t use huge prizes or big name judges to draw a crowd. It’s one of the rare Bay Area hackathons where (seemingly) most attendees actually aren’t local—giving it a fresh vibe, with new faces and ideas every year.

Last week I wrote a post that called for more hackathons to be purpose driven—Music Hack Day is not one of those of events. Instead, Music Hack Day is an event driven by a desire to learn and a shared passion for music. These types of events are, without question, very good for the hacker ecosystem, and Music Hack Day is a shining example of how they should be run.

What makes Music Hack Day great is that expectations are clear. There is no question—we’re there to mingle, build, and learn—not to make money. There’s only a few small prizes and no PowerPoints—it’s a true hacker’s hackathon. And over the years this event has blossomed into a passionate community filled with incredibly smart developers and musicians.

Here’s a couple of my favorite hacks from the event:

Leap Orchestra
An orchestra controlled by the new Leap Motion device.

TokBox Ukulele
Play an imaginary instrument via webcam using OpenTok.
TokBox Ukulele

Live Crowdsourced Concert Visuals with LSD
A collaborative VJing webapp that uses OpenTok to crowd source visuals from a concert audience.

A playable piano neck tie.

Provides example chord progressions for a given genre or song.

We’re thankful to the wonderful folks at Echo Nest and the attendees for making it a pleasure for us to host. Cya next year!