By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
The winning entry at an Austin Music Hackathon presented by Twilio Sunday night was a social jukebox app that lets patrons at a bar or club check into a venue using Foursquare and queue up their Pandora playlists into the bar’s sound system. So, you could wind up with Pitbull followed by Bjork followed by Rachmaninoff. Theoretically.
About 25 people attended the hackathon which unofficially kicked off Austin Startup Week. Participants included software developers, designers, musicians, performance artists and more. They started Saturday morning at digital design studio thirteen23, downtown, with coffee and kolaches and had to quit by 9 p.m. Saturday night. Sunday they resumed with demos at 6 p.m.
After playing with various tech toys brought by the sponsors, participants threw around ideas and wound up with teams around the best of them.
The winning team comprised Ansa Copeland and Sara Dubuque, visual/ux designers, Shaun Dubuque, a mobile developer from thirteen23 and Kevin Walorski, a recent Austin transplant from IU in Bloomington, IN.
Another top ranked idea was a table idea from Doug Cook, Executive Director of thirteen23. Below the table was an Arduino board. Cook brought card s with pictures on them of animals—a cow, a duck etc.—that, when dropped on the board cued a corresponding sound on the sound system. He invented it for his three-year-old. When it’s bedtime, he drops a picture of a sunset on the table and the board turns off the lights in the room, turns on a nightlight and cues cricket song on the sound system.
Keith Casey of Twilio was the instigator behind the hackathon.
“I’ve run about a dozen hackathons around software development and SXSW recently hosted an eco one and one on healthcare. But it kind of surprised me we never had one around music,” Casey said.
He loves doing the hackathons because it gives people an opportunity to get creative.
“So many of these people in their day to day jobs have a lot of structure and direction and they don’t get a chance to sort of play,” he said. “Some people find it super exciting and some people are terrified by the prospect.”
The ones who are terrified get plugged in to a team and “super converted by Sunday.”
Twilio was one of the sponsors of the event which was also sponsored by Boulder, Colorado startup Sendgrid; , Rovi of Santa Clara, California and Mashery and SoundCloud from San Francisco.