Swarm.fm's Peter Watts accepts the $10,000 grand prize at the
Spotify-conducted Music Apps Hack Weekend (photo: Paul Lamere).
What if Spotify threw a weekend-long party for digital music hackers at a Manhattan ping pong club co-founded by Susan Sarandon? Your correspondent was too laid up with the flu to find out in person, but has pieced together some details.
The winner of Spotify's $10,000 grand prize for the best app to be created at Music Apps Hack Weekend on top of its platform: Swarm.fm, an as-yet-unlaunched music app from the same Peter Watts who brought us +Music. In the words of its creator, Swarm.fm will soon "take the internet, find everything related to music, shove it inside Spotify, and put a play button on it."
Really? That's it?
We kid -- this is clearly an ambitious undertaking. After witnessing it in action, the judges at Spotify's weekend music hack day saw fit to award Watts the grand prize, so there's clearly something to it.
"Swarm augments your music collection with activity from your friends (liking bands, listening, posting songs) and activity from artists you like (new releases, status updates), to keep you up to date with your 'music universe,'" according to Watts. "It also find similarities between friends and can generate playlists based on artists, interests and brands you have in common."
That bit about "brands" is surely music to the ears of advertisers (Frito-Lay subsidiary Doritos was a sponsor of the event). For example, Swarm.fm should be able to figure out which of your friends like Doritos (or bicycles, or '80s garage rock) and invite you and your likeminded friends to subscribe to the same automatically-generated playlist.
Meanwhile, fans who already use Spotify could gravitate towards an app like this that inverts the usual Spotify --> Facebook relationship by importing their friends' Facebook activity into Spotify, so they don't have to sift through Facebook to find it amongst everything else on there. The Swarm app, which would run inside Spotify as opposed to using it on the back-end, would give Spotify users a new way to pull their "musical universe" within Spotify itself where it might be easier to access.
We've reached out to Watts to let us know when this thing is ready for the public, so stay tuned.