Music Hack Day is a recurring event in which developers take 24 hours to write music applications based on various open APIs. This weekend, Music Hack Day took place London, and a few of the results have been made available online for the general public. Most offer a minute or two of interesting musical distraction, like 7x7, a Web page that lets you create chords from notes in a matrix, and Soundwheel (warning: audio will begin playing as soon as the page loads), which warbles bass tones as you drag points around a color wheel.
But one hack seemed truly groundbreaking. Trackdropper (listed under "Piracy") is an Android app that lets users "drop" songs from their phone's music collection in physical locations. Then, other users can go on treasure hunts to find and play the dropped songs. The idea is to use geocaching to make music piracy more like old-fashioned nautical piracy--a hunt for booty. I don't have an Android handset so haven't been able to test it myself, but the video demonstration looks fascinating.
Google is reportedly building a music service to launch by the end of this year. Imagine if it incorporated this type of location-based functionality into it, and added personalization so users could leave particular songs for one another. Apple, Microsoft, or other big music players could do the same. The trick would be getting buy-in from content owners, either by tying it to an all-you-can-hear subscription service or by setting limits on the number of times a particular user could play each song as a full-length sample.
If you'd like to check out some of the other hacks from the London event, they've set up a Wiki with a full list. Some are only demos, some are uncompiled source code, and others are available to test.