Why you may never have to ask ‘what’s that song?’ at a music festival again

why you may never have to ask whats thing song at music festivals again livesound2

Music festivals are good for a lot of things: Finally seeing Bruce Springsteen’s jeans in person, having an excuse to wear a sheer floral jumpsuit in public, and paying an obscene amount of money for a small domestic beer. But they’re not so great if you find yourself in the back of a crowd listening to an incredible song, but you’re too far away to see what band is playing or find out what your new summer jam is. 

There are plenty of music recognition apps on the market you can download and try to use at festivals, but most of them fall short when it comes to identifying live music, since audiences distort sound, and songs don’t always sound the same as they do on the album. 

And that’s the problem MusicID Live is prepared to fix. It’s a new technology from Gracenote, a company owned by Sony that specializes in audio and video recognition. And if they get their way, you won’t have to stand there wondering what you’re listening to after you’ve wandered past one of the smaller stages at Coachella or stumbled upon a fascinating DJ set at Lollapalooza. 

Here’s how it works: Festivals and other apps will use the MusicID Live API to work together identifying songs. An operator near the sound board at a concert – a producer, or anyone working for the musician – will hook the board up to the MusicID Live system, which will then connect to apps using the technology. Unlike most music recognition apps, it requires this step because analyzing things like chord structure and melody doesn’t work as well when you’re dealing with live shows, so initially the app will require a direct connection with the soundboard at the concert. Once that’s established, though, audience members with these apps will be able to hold their phones up like they do using any standard music recognition app, and the live song will instantly be identified. Once it’s identified, the technology will kick you over to iTunes, where you’ll be able to download the song. 

“The MusicID streaming technology is really all about when you go to the stage and hold your phone in the air, and we have the fingerprints from the live music playing live in the server in 75 milliseconds,” Gracenote CTO and co-founder Ty Roberts explains. 

Festivals are notoriously bad places for phone reception, but they’ve been improving in recent years, and now most major music melees are developing their own apps and taking note of fans with data plans, incorporating social media and other digital connection opportunities into their plans. And the type of audience members who get exciting about tweeting at Jay-Z while he’s on stage are also the type who are going to want an app to tell them what songs they’re hearing. “We’ve been waiting for festivals’ connectivity to catch up,” Roberts says, “And for them to see the need to innovate a platform that’s designed for the festivals. There isn’t such a thing. There are guys making apps for festivals, but not building a platform that keeps improving.” 

Now that festivals are ready for smartphones, Gracenote is working to make sure its live music recognition software gets integrated into the big summer bashes. And the company is working on building up its database of live music fingerprints so that the software can recognize live music even without someone plugging in the software to musician’s sound boards in the future.  

The Gracenote team created the API specifically for Outside Hacks, the hackathon for the Outside Lands music festival, and they demoed the technology at an awards show for the music festival. They’re in talks with a variety of businesses and festivals, but say it’s too soon to reveal names – but if they hook up with established music recognition apps like Shazam or Soundcloud, this would be a huge boon for festival-goers eager to remember the songs they hear. 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

What exactly is Alexa? Where does she come from? And how does she work?

While "Alexa" has become synonymous with products like the Amazon Echo, you can't actually go out and buy an "Alexa." So what is Alexa? How does she work? Here's everything you need to know about Amazon's virtual assistant.
Mobile

It hasn't even been announced yet, but you can already reserve the Galaxy S10

It won't be long now. With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Photography

Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer

Never lose any of your cherished selfies or family vacation photos from your iPhone again by learning how to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer, whether you want to use a cable or wireless transfer.
Social Media

Twitter boss again teases the idea of a button to edits tweets

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suggested the company is still looking at options for allowing people to edit tweets. Ideas include a function that gives you up to 30 seconds to recall a tweet before it goes live on the service.
Social Media

‘Instagram egg’ embarks on a new adventure as man behind it is unmasked

The Instagram egg made global headlines recently after it became the most-liked post on the photo-sharing app. The person behind the account has now been revealed, as has his reason for choosing an egg for the stunt.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.