Today in Hacking: Sony Music Ireland, FoxNews, VBulletin; Apple Server Compromised
Today in Hacking: Sony Music Ireland, FoxNews, VBulletin; Apple Server Compromised

Portishead
The new Bragging Rights app, created during Music Hack Day, could effectively end hipster on hipster violence as we know it.

As any hipster can attest, the question over who discovered a band first has sparked many a bar argument. But perhaps the end to our quarrels is near.

Thanks to a web-based app called Bragging Rights, music aficionados can now settle arguments about who discovered an artist first by determining who was the first to 'scrobble' them (in reference to Audioscrobbler, a plug-in for Live.fm that tracks music listening history). The app's motto, "Because you found it first, man" says it all.

The app is just one of many produced as part of Music Hack Day, a 24 hour hackathon in which developers create music-based apps that leverage open APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow automated access to data such as gig listings, artist bios, recommendations, lyrics, events, tags (like genre), and, of course, the music itself.

Both the developer, Matt Ogle, and co-founder of Music Hack Day, David Haynes, presented at South by Southwest Monday morning at a panel entitled Love, Music and APIs, which discussed the future of music applications and their ability to harness data accessible through APIs. With APIs, developers can focus on creativity, rather than the technicalities of acquiring or generating data, opening a new world of apps for exploration, discovery and interaction.

"APIs have become the building blocks for a new generation of music services", says Haynes, "and it's a trend that's accelerating."

For example, Piracy, a location-based Android app created during Music Hack Day, allows users to upload or download a track based on their physical location. "Finding a track is like finding a treasure", says Haynes. One possible application is the ability to hide previews of tracks by popular artists around the city and have a legion of fans on a treaure hunt to find them.

Invisible Instruments, an app created during the New York event, allows users to play air drums, violin or piano. An app called Earth Destroyers accesses gig information of your favorite artists to determine the efficiency of their tour schedules, and therefore how eco-concious their routes are.

"A lot of the apps fail, and that's OK", says Haynes. "The important lesson here is that with this new ecosystem [of APIs], we have a playground to try out these ideas quickly."

And of course, for most of the participants, they're just doing it because they love music.