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MIT Grads’ The Echo Nest Brings Rocking Technology

November 19, 2013
Boston Herald
by Jed Gottlieb

Sorry, you can’t name your band The Jolly Rogers. Or Zombie Dog. Or Scrambled Eggs, Hardboiled Eggs or The Eggmen.

It seems like all the good (and bad) band names have been used, so if you hit on a winner, make sure it hasn’t been snagged at furia.com/isthisbandnametaken.

Created by The Echo Nest, a Somerville company that provides platforms and information to music-based businesses, the website searches the company’s massive databanks for claimed band names.

“I wanted to come up with the simplest use of Echo Nest’s API,” company data analyst Glenn McDonald said.

API? It’s the application programming interface — basically a set of tools for building apps.

This simplest use of The Echo Nest’s knowledge and tech searches a database of almost 3 million recording artists from every corner of the globe. It’s a small fraction of Echo Nest’s reach — it provides platforms for more than 400 music applications. Founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology grads in 2005, the company’s customers include MTV, Spotify and SiriusXM.

Up next: “I’m creating a map where you can take a genre and find its opposite,” said McDonald. “My first attempt at this always took it to the extreme. The opposite of everything seemed to be death metal, chorale, tech house or spoken word. Yesterday I figured out the opposite pole in music could be like the opposite pole on a globe.”

It sounds nuts, but his algorithms seem to work. According to his latest program, the opposite of Frank Sinatra standards is EDM.

MIT Grads’ The Echo Nest Brings Rocking Technology

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