Summer In The City

Last week we headed to Summer In The City’s Creator Day. Being the UK’s biggest YouTube convention, it was a great chance to meet emerging talent from across the land.  

IMG_8769 (1)

Armed with a banner, laptop and a bucket full of Haribo we entered the world of vloggers and beauty gurus. While they may have been attracted to our stand by the gummy bears, they left with the knowledge that a new way to create music had arrived. “Where have you been all my life?” was a question we were asked more than once! And already some ace videos have appeared using music created on the site.

Apart from Jukedeck, there were a host of other fantastic businesses on show – all bent on helping YouTubers create amazing content. We packed up, excited for the future of video in the UK.

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.

A new song

We love it when people use Jukedeck to create bigger and better works of art – be that a video, game or song.

Yesterday evening a tweet reached us.

We were bowled over by the inventiveness and sheer skill of Princess Rizu.

And it’s reminded us of something we often talk about. The composition and production of music is both an open and restricted practice. Almost anyone can make original music – simply by hammering on their breakfast table or humming random sounds. But much of the music that we like to listen to and use requires significant resources – education, facilities, time – to create. If we can lower this barrier – democratise composition if you will – for those who don’t have those resources, we’ll be pretty happy.

Jukedeck at Abbey Road

IMG_7858

 

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.

We won Pitch@Palace

14 (2)

I’m thrilled to announce that on Monday night we won Pitch@Palace 3.0!

The event – hosted by HRH The Duke of York –  took place at St James’s Palace, and was the culmination of a competition that saw 400 startups whittled down to a final 14. Each startup pitched for 3 minutes, knowing that if they went a second over then a royal bugler would cut them off with a blast of his horn.

Our fate lay in the hands of the audience – over 400 investors and successful entrepreneurs, ranging from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to the CEOs of both Google and Facebook in the UK. Their remit was to vote for the most promising business.

With startups such as Grabble (the ‘Tinder for fashion’), Skignz (augmented reality signposts), OpenDesk (affordable, custom office-furniture) and the wonderfully-named Magic Pony Technology (delivering a ‘step-change in video compression performance’), we can imagine that it was quite a challenge. But after a rousing speech from the Duke, compelling each influential member of the audience to not only vote but meaningfully help at least one startup present, the top 3 were announced. Third was OpenDesk, second was Grabble, and first – much to our surprise – was Jukedeck. It’s a huge privilege, but a big shout out must go to all the startups present – each innovating in tremendous ways.

There’s been a storm of activity since – mainly on social media – but one thing in particular has brought a buzz to the Jukedeck office. The Duke instructed each startup to make an explicit request of the audience during our respective pitches. Our request was to be put in touch with Sean Parker – an internet startup pioneer, who founded Napster and helped build both Facebook and Spotify. This was because 5 years ago, a Vanity Fair article reported that Sean is ‘always talking about the potential of computers to generate algorithms for likeable melodies…he believes it’s only a matter of time before computers will be able to create listenable tunes.’ We wanted to tell Sean that we’d done just that. 2 minutes after our pitch we received the following tweet, from none other than Jimmy Wales himself.

We’re looking forward to it.

Our day was rounded off by devouring most of the royal kitchen’s macaroon collection, sampling some fine British beverages, and getting tweeted by the Monarchy.

A huge thank you to HRH, and all the #pitchatpalace team for a phenomenal competition.

Introducing two of the team

April has brought two new faces to the Jukedeck team – both of whom radiate our love for music and programming. We thought we’d take a moment to introduce them.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 20.46.00

Pierre Chanquion

Software Engineer

Pedigree: MA with Distinction in Innovation in Practice and a First-class degree in Music Computing from Goldsmiths, University of London

Obsession with music began when: He first walked down Denmark Street

Instrument: Bass Guitar

Musical background: Session bassist for artists including Katy B, Charlene Soaraia and Lianne La Havas

Vinyl of choiceDon Blackman – Don Blackman

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 20.47.41

Gabi Teodoru

Software Engineer

Pedigree: PhD (Candidate) in Machine Learning from University College London, MSc in Music Informatics and BMus in Composition from Indiana University

Obsession with music began when: He realised that Music and Maths were practically the same subject

Instruments: Piano, Organ

Musical background: Wrote an application that employs spectral analysis to aid piano tuning, including the piano of St Martin-in-the-Fields church, London

Vinyl of choiceBeethoven – Symphony No. 5

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.

IMG_20141210_180026 (1)

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.

IMG_6314

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.

Continue reading

LeWeb Startups

IMG_6244 (2) (1)

In December we took part in the LeWeb Startup Competition. As well as drinking our fair share of pamplemousse, we met some brilliant startups – all bent on changing the world.

Here’s our whistle-stop tour of some of our fellow participants. As you’ll see, this post focuses on the startups which solve all the Home problems you can think of.

In the kitchen

We have Cuciniale. Hailing from Germany, their smart thermometer allows you to cook the perfect steak. Just enter your taste preferences into the app and Cuciniale’s smart sensors will do the rest (analysing size, weight, fat, water and protein content, and adjusting the applied energy and cooking time accordingly). With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re getting involved.

Bild-3-150dpi

 

 

In the bedroom

We have (as might be expected) a Swedish startup – Natural Cycles. Founded by the inspirational Elina Berglund , this self-declared “more sex app” is a system to naturally prevent pregnancies. You get up, take your temperature, enter the data into the app, and it tells you whether you’re fertile that day or not. At 99.9% accuracy (safer than a condom, if administered correctly) it’s no gimmick. Again, grab yours before February 14th if you’re keen to keep your relationship à deux.

IMG_20141211_101202

 

In the wardrobe

Putting your clothes back on, Fitle and EasySize will both help you pick outfits that fit. Parisian Fitle provides users with a 3D avatar of themselves that is 99% morphologically exact. This allows you to virtually try on clothes from your favourite online stores, all within the comfort of your home. Neat. EasySize – led by the great Gulnaz Khusainova – pitches itself slightly differently, aiming to help online retailers predict the size of the customer by analysing historic purchases and returns, and therefore decrease return-rates. Money saved.

With Jukedeck’s office being in intimidatingly-trendy Shoreditch, London, we recognise the need to up our fashion game – so very much look forward to both of these top startups coming to the UK soon.

data

Online-shops-—-EasySize

 

 

In the hallway

As you leave the house, make sure you keep those clothes and thermometers safe with Noki – the door lock of the 21st century. It’s been posited that the hefty assortment of items in your pocket or handbag (wallet, keys, phone) will be replaced by one smart device, and Noki solves the most unwieldy of these. Simply attach Noki’s bluetooth device onto the inside lock of any door with three simple screws, then lock and unlock it at the touch of a button via the app. Access can be shared between several people, and temporary access can be given to others : AirBnB hosts roll up.

Noki-The-Door-Lock-of-the-21st-Century-1024x484

Be sure to check out some of the other great companies from the Startup Competition. From Braineet to Trip4Real, it was a real feast.