1st concerts & why we’re excited about Music Hack Day

What was the first concert you went to?

At my last job, we used this ice-breaker often for new hires, offsites, client meetings, etc. etc.  The nice thing about this one is that it gets almost everyone’s guard down – for one, eyes-glazed, big-smile, nostalgia-flecked moment.

Here’s why, I think:  everyone likes music, and sometimes experiencing it  – making, discovering, and consuming it – with other people who like it as much as you do makes it even better.

At TokBox, we’re excited about Music Hack Day because so many of us here who love music and believe in bringing people together across the web can’t wait to see what a small army of hackers with an arsenal of APIs (we humbly offer up ours) might come up with for users to enjoy music together online. (We’re also awestruck by the likes of SoundCloud, Echonest, and SongKick and are pinching ourselves that they let us tag along for the ride.)

Now, I’m sympathetic to views that:

  • being there, armpit-to-armpit, believing fervently during the anthemic notes at LCD Soundsystem’s final show that you are now cosmically linked to everyone else in Madison Square Garden – is not even close to watching a livestream, or
  • checking out your cooler friend’s playlist on Rdio is not as much fun as having an in-person debate with that High Fidelity wannabe at the record store, or
  • the Gorillaz iPad album is a not-so-awesome gimmick and why doesn’t Damon Albarn just get himself back in a real studio with real people and real instruments

….but I’m also so grateful for technology that lets me experience music with more kindred spirits and in more new ways.  3.5 million fans showed up at the largest (known) concert in history (guess who it was! hint: I don’t think he’s sexy).   That’s pretty amazing. But it also amazes me that today a whole lot more fans get to experience U2 (10M) or the Arcade Fire (4.3M) live.

There’s a lot more where that came from – can’t say it better than our friends at Echonest: developers hold the key to how music will be enjoyed, played with, created, remixed, ranked, cowbelled, swung, jogged to, shared, learned, visualized, deleted, and discovered by music fans today and in the future.

If you can’t be there this weekend, check back here for updates:  demos start at 3 pm on Sunday, May 8th.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for ideas for a music-related app (we have lots) or just want to tell me about your first concert, ping me at @janineyoong.