Deezer at Sónar+D Innovation Challenge 2016

Lots of musics and lots of technologies

The Sónar Innovation Challenge (SIC) takes place during the Sónar and Sónar+D events in Barcelona, one of the biggest worldwide electronic music festival. This year, it was the 23rd edition of Sónar and like previous years, Deezer was partner of the music hack days which now became the Sónar+D.

For the 2016 edition, each partner proposed, a few weeks prior to the event, a challenge and several external profiles were selected based on their motivation and skills to compose ephemeral teams. These international teams had the opportunity to start collaborating online through a dedicated platform to converge on their projects ideas.

Partners were the Pompeu Fabra University, Absolut LABS (focus on nightlife innovative experiences and richer social connection), Rapidmix ( produce hardware and software tools for users and makers), CoSiMa (platform for collaborative and collective interaction) and Deezer.

The Deezer Challenge

Explore a way to monitor crowd behavior in order to generate and control a live music flow. What kind a crowd? From small to large group of people with various similar or distinct musical taste.

We wanted challengers to propose a system that would consider several aspects of the person using it: a system that would be interactive and give original live visual feedbacks.

Crowd behavior can be estimated in many different ways

  • Knowledge of the participant tastes and profiles
  • Video analysis
  • Noise analysis
  • Sensors integration

Allow playlist control from basic interactions to finer settings

  • Control — next, like, dislike, …
  • Rhythm — faster songs, slower songs, …
  • Genre — more acoustic, less acoustic, electronic, …
  • Popularity
  • Other parameters

Give some live ambient visual feedback adjusted to the flow

Challengers and Mentors

The whole team (challengers and mentors) did a few video calls, prior to the events, to discuss and converge on the project.

Re-enactement of the video calls we did to converge on the project idea

On June 15th 2016, everyone finally met for the first time: the external challengers and the Deezer mentors. The selected challengers were 2 product designers and 3 developers coming from Spain, Italy, UK, Ireland.

Jason (Product — Spain), Giulia (UX — Italy), Kieran (Dev — Ireland), Sergio (Dev — Spain), Ben (Dev — UK)

From Deezer, we were four to come from our Headquarters in Paris. Our missions: mentor the challengers, coordinate the booth and present the challenge and Deezer to the public. Jimena and Manuel are part of our R&D Team, Louis is part of our Platform Team and Romain is in charge of technical challenge, events and ecosystem.

Deezer R&D and Platform Teams, Technologies, Projects and Organization will be presented in separate articles, stay tuned!

The setup of our booth

Manuel presented the challenge and highlighted specific details and problematics relative to Deezer recommendation systems and mechanisms.

Manuel presented the challenges

From our Spain office, there was also Pablo, responsible of Deezer Iberia Operations, who was part of the jury for the French startups competition that was happening at Sónar+D. This competition was organized by La French Tech and Business France.

Pablo judged several emerging startups

Fight For Your Track

The challengers decided to work on a gaming principle to cover most of the aspects of the challenge: users are players which are automatically distributed in two or more teams based on their musical tastes which are detected when they login through their Deezer profile.

The challengers presenting their “Fight For Your Track” prototype

They mixed up several “retro” inspirations to get the name of the project, the UI and even its UX. At the end, they came with “Fight For Your Track”.

Inspiration Board
Some screens of “Fight For Your Track”

As we could have hope, the 2016 Sónar+D Innovation Challenge was a very musical and technological experience, challengers and mentors will all remember. We are looking forward to be part of it next year and work on other challenges.

By the way

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You can get more informations about technical events we host, in our Headquarters in Paris, on our dedicated DeezerTech meetup group.

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