Welcoming some new people to the team

It’s always fun introducing new members of the Jukedeck team. We’ve had four people join us recently – read on to find out a bit about who they are.

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Richard Cadman

Pedigree: Former operational consultant at Newton Europe, delivering efficiency improvements within major UK retailer. Jack of all trades. First class with distinction MEng in Manufacturing Engineering from Cambridge University.

Musical background: Self-taught guitarist, failed jazz pianist, student DJ. Once accidentally DJed a Japanese-themed event at the Cambridge Union using latino lounge music only.

Vinyl of choice: John Mayer – Room For Squares

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Eamon Hyland

Pedigree: BA in Computer Science from the University of Tasmania. Worked as a lead full-stack developer for a Melbourne based digital agency as well as freelancing in London. Thoroughly enjoys investigating new technologies in his spare time whilst building and maintaining personal projects.

Musical Background: A regular patron of Melbourne’s live music seen, enjoys as much live Rock, Post Punk and Folk music as possible. Hobbyist drummer.

Vinyl of Choice: The Dirty Three – Ocean Songs

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Ben Hayes

Pedigree: Starred First in Electronic Music from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jazz Bass at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Royal Academy of Music.

Musical Background: Writes original electronic music. Composes and produces for artists from major label pop acts to underground jazz and electronica. Touring bassist and keyboard player.

Vinyl of Choice: Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda

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Max Cleary

Pedigree: Spent 4 years in business development at various tech and AI startups, with another 3 years full-time musician. Also (questionably) founded a massage business. Studied Physics and Philosophy at Bristol University.

Musical background: Plays piano, guitar and cello, with 7 years as the keyboard/synth player, backing vocalist and producer for a Top 40 dance music band signed to Sony. Now writes and produces songs for bands and for brands.

Vinyl of Choice: Bonobo – Black Sands

Introducing our new site

Today is a massive day for our awesome team at Jukedeck — after months of really hard work on some really tough problems, we’re opening up our site into public beta. And we’d love it if you gave it a try. 🎉

What’s Jukedeck?

If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube, you’ll know how hard it is to find music you can use. The songs you’ve bought on iTunes are off limits due to copyright restrictions, and stock audio libraries are hard to navigate and expensive, with tracks that are the wrong length for your videos and a few decent tracks that you end up hearing everywhere. There’s no way of easily finding original, affordable music for your videos.

With Jukedeck, we want to solve this problem — by letting you create your own unique, royalty-free music at the touch of a button.

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How does it work?

We’ve tried to make the process of sourcing music as easy and intuitive as possible; so you can create an original piece of music in a few clicks without knowing anything about music.

Like most stock audio sites, you can use keywords to specify the kind of music you want. Unlike most stock audio sites, you can choose exactly how long you want your track to be, and even set the instruments that are used and the exact beats per minute if you want a bit more control.

The reason you can do this is that we’re not just going and fetching you a track from a library — we’re composing a new track, just for you, on the spot. We’ve built an artificially intelligent system that can write music on its own — the tune, the chords, everything — which means the track you get is unique and has never been heard before.

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We’ve been in private beta for the last few months, with some amazing video creators using our music and giving us great feedback that’s helped shape how we’ve built the product. To date, over 100 days of music has been created on the site, and videos using our music have had 16 million views — all thanks to a small handful of creators. We’re really excited that today we can open it up to everyone.

So, if you’re making a video that needs music, please do give it a go — and let us know what you think! 🙂


ps A massive shoutout to Paddy, Rob, Jonny, Pierre, Lydia, Alkis, Marco, Gabriele, and the rest of the team who aren’t on Twitter.

Composing the Pitch@Palace theme tune 👑 🎵

On Monday night we were at Pitch@Palace 4.0, the latest incarnation of the startup competition hosted by HRH The Duke of York in St. James’ Palace. As the winners of Pitch@Palace 3.0, we weren’t competing this time – but we were asked to provide a theme tune.

Now, writing a piece for the monarchy is not to be taken lightly (we see ourselves as a modern-day Handel in this regard), so we got our composing hats on. We quickly settled on using our Electronic style (it was a tech crowd, after all). But we didn’t think the melodies were up to royal standards – so we used this as inspiration to improve our machine learning algorithms and totally rework the way Electronic melodies are created by our software.

We’re really happy with the results, and the changes we made will be surfacing in our live product very soon. You can hear the results below – the official Pitch@Palace theme tune, with melody and chords composed by Jukedeck. Probably the first AI-created piece used at a royal occasion? (Bring on the National Anthem.)

Hats off to the Duke and his team for commissioning us and for inspiring us to push even harder to keep improving our product. That’s what Pitch@Palace is all about, and it’s great to see its effects playing out in the real world.

And now for something completely different

Like any good tech startup, we spend most of our time writing code. But we also make time for some pretty varied musical exploits – and we thought we’d take a moment to share a couple of them with you.

First up – Rob. When he’s not honing our production, organising our stack and keeping our site in ship shape, he finds time to lay down beats like this. Talk about livening up Friday afternoons in the office.

 

Pierre is our resident production guru and divides his time between finding and perfecting the sounds we use and writing some pretty nifty C++. The rest of the time? He’s arranging and producing beautiful songs like this:

 

On the other end of the musical spectrum, check out Gabriele – usually to be found doing crazy things with machine learning – knock the socks off this Mozart clarinet trio.

 

I may spend my weekdays in the Jukedeck office, but I spend my weekends messing around at the piano, coming up with mashups like this one:

 

And it’s the same story with the rest of the team: Jonny is a demon on the decks and has been known to turn his hand to the accordion, and Gabi plays Beethoven on the piano better than anyone we’ve ever heard. No recordings yet, but we’ll get them on camera soon.

Oh – and when Paddy’s not running the business, he’s usually to be found singing his heart out in some arena or other. See if you can spot the two of us trying to keep up with Dizzee Rascal at the Electric Proms.

Jukedeck at Abbey Road

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Last night we found ourselves at Abbey Road for the first in a series of music tech meetups being organised by Jon Eades, who’s leading the tech drive there.

Turns out Abbey Road is more than just a studio – they’ve historically been at the forefront of innovation, and are looking to continue that tradition by getting more involved in developments in music tech and the startup world. I was there to give a talk on the history of algorithmic composition, and to speak about what we’re doing at Jukedeck.

There aren’t many places in the world with a stronger musical history than Abbey Road, so it was a great place to speak and meet a bunch of really interesting people. And yes – we got the inevitable crossing pic.

Stepping into the future at LeWeb

At the end of 2014, we were lucky enough to spend three days at LeWeb, one of the world’s leading tech conferences. Most of our time was spent at our stand, demoing our product – but we also had a chance to explore some of the other technology on show. And wandering these three vast halls in the suburbs of Paris felt like stepping into the future.

The conference had everything, from virtual reality to futuristic art installations. Here are a few of the best things we stumbled on.

The Oculus Rift

Until you’ve tried on the Rift, it’s tempting to think the gasps of amazement you see in the promo videos are the result of bad actors reading from bad scripts. But there’s no acting involved – it’s impossible to come away from your first experience with the Rift in anything other than a state of blind disbelief.

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The simulation we tried was a theme park ride that has you strapped to a seat that’s spun through 360 degrees above a small town. And it’s genuinely disconcerting. On more than one occasion I had to be grabbed to stop me from falling to the floor – it’s surprisingly hard to stay upright when your senses are screaming to you that you’re hanging upside down.

But, more than anything, you come away with the sense that this is only the beginning. Everyone’s talking about the potential of the Rift for gaming – but what about all the other applications? Imagine watching a gig at Madison Square Garden from the comfort of your living room, or seeing your favourite sports team as if you were right there in the stadium, or watching the next blockbuster with the action unfolding around you.

Seriously – the Rift is going to change everything.

3D Photos

Ok, so this is no virtual reality – but it’s pretty fun. You step into a booth, about 100 cameras go off at once, and you get a 3D photo of you sent straight to your phone. Needless frivolity? Perhaps. But who knows – it could be a good way of getting versions of the people you know into that virtual reality world the Rift is going to bring about.

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Drones

Drones are so a part of the zeitgeist that they had their own slot on the main stage – and we can see why. The speed at which these things have become (a) usable and (b) affordable is insane. We don’t have one yet, but it’s high on the list of planned purchases for the Jukedeck office.

The one thing we’d say is that they’re surprisingly loud. So if you’re making a #dronie and you need some music to drown out the noise of a thousand angry bees, you know where to head.

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We won the LeWeb Startup Competition

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I’m really pleased to announce that we won the LeWeb 2014 Startup Competition!

After a hard-fought semi-final against some really great startups, we made it to the final three, which meant pitching on the main stage on the final day of the conference.

The panel was made up of some giants of the tech world, including LeWeb organiser Loïc Le Meur, Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman and French Minister of State for Digital Affairs Axelle Lemaire. They posed some pretty demanding but very interesting questions, our favourite being ‘What Is The Future Of Art?’ We’ll have 3000 words for them by Monday morning.

The other two finalists were both great ideas and are well worth a mention. EasySize makes it easy for shops to decrease their return rate by using an algorithm to make sure customers are ordering the size that’s right for them; and NaturalCycles is a smart fertility monitor that lets you naturally plan or prevent pregnancy using just your daily temperature. We’re sure they’re both going to go on to great things.

In the end we won, which is a massive honour. You can check out the entire pitch below – there may be a rap involved.

What is Jukedeck? (and other FAQs)

We’re gearing up for launch, so we thought we’d take a moment to let you know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

What is Jukedeck?

A tool that allows you to create unique music at the touch of a button.

How does it work?

You come to our site, choose a style of music and a mood, and are instantly given a completely unique soundtrack. If it’s not quite right, you can tweak it or go for something completely new. You can even choose how long the soundtrack should be, so that it’s just the right length for your video – and we’ve got loads more features coming soon that are going to make it easier than ever to get the perfect soundtrack.

Who is it for?

Anyone who needs music, but specifically video creators.

What sets it apart?

If you’re a video producer, an advertiser or a games developer, the process of sourcing and editing music is broken. Searching through stock audio libraries is time-consuming, and it’s difficult to convey exactly what you want (“In-your-face”? “Mesmerising”? “Sort-of-like-that-but-a-bit-different”?).

We want to make this process quicker and easier. We want to give video producers a tool that lets them make the music they want really quickly, and then lets them go back and edit it as much as they like. We want to put that power in their hands.

Our mission is to give every video on the web the perfect soundtrack, because we believe music is more meaningful when it’s personalised.

What about copyright and royalties?

With our music, you don’t have to worry about copyright, because Jukedeck is based on state-of-the-art music-writing software that will write a unique piece of music just for you. In short, you’re free to use the music for commercial and non-commercial purposes. And we’re offering all our music completely royalty-free.

Are you trying to replace human composers?

Not at all – composers are the bedrock of the musical world (we’d know – we’re composers ourselves!). We just know that not everyone has access to a composer – and that’s where we come in. We want to build cool, useful stuff, that hopefully makes people’s lives easier.

So who’s behind it?

We’re a team of professional composers and producers, busy making sure every track is of the highest musical standard.

What if I can’t wait for the first product?

Email info@jukedeck.com for early access!