The Echo Nest: What Should You Drink While Listening To Your Favorite Music? Ask Drinkify.November 17, 2011
by Rip Empson
When it comes to music and drinking, these activities are best enjoyed in the company of others — hopefully friends. But, when combining music and libations, it’s not always easy to know just what kind of drink should be sipped while listening to your favorite Barry White tunes. Courvoisier? Personally, I prefer a Fresca for music of every single stripe, but people want choice, and they want to match the best of both music and spirits.
Last weekend, The Echo Nest, the music intelligence company that connects app developers to music and music data, organized a “hackday” in Boston for developers, coders, and hacking supastars looking to bring their skills to bear upon the current array of problems besetting the music industry to start creating apps, products, and more to solve those problems.
The weekend produced a number of cool hacks, but I thought one in particular was worth sharing to get this weekend (or any weekend for that matter) off on the right foot. Drinkify is a new website that, simply put, tells you what to drink while you’re listening to certain types of music. Enter “Justin Bieber”, and Drinkify tells you what kind of libation is best enjoyed while listening to the Biebs’s greatest hit. In this case, it’s 8 ounces of Red Bull. I would have said a “Shirley Temple”, but what do I know?
It’s fairly straightforward. According to the developers, Matthew Ogle, Hannah Donovan, and Lindsay Eyink, the best hacks should be about something one loves — they should scratch an itch and solve one of our myriad personal problems. Maybe it was a result of a hangover, maybe not, but drinks were on their minds. They wanted some hair-of-the-dog style recommendations, and so Drinkify (formerly “Boozi.ly”) was born.
As for the technical side, the Drinkify creators used the Echo Nest’s API for lists of terms and genres that describe artists and audio summaries of top tracks (whether the songs are slow or fast, etc.), the Last.fm API for artist and album images, name spelling, most-played tracks for individual artists, and, of course, the proprietary Drinkify database, because, as the Drinkifiers say, “booze still doesn’t have an API”. And it’s a damn shame.
Obviously, this was a hack created over a very short period of time, so it’s far from perfect. Many of the drinks paired with artists are seriously lacking in creativity, and some just flat out don’t make sense. But there are some that do, like Slayer, Edith Piaf, and Bob Dylan. Black Sabbath is pretty hilarious, too. I like the “garnish with olive” — that really topped it off nicely.
In terms of the recommendations, “stirring speed” is tied to the average beats per minute (i.e. tempo) of the artist’s top song. This is a somewhat clever quick-fix, but obviously for many artists, their top song may not always be indicative of their entire catalog.
The Drinkify founders said that they’ve had bands and artists reaching out to them on Twitter to tell them what their favorite drinks are, and in some cases, they’ve been changing them to reflect that where it made sense to associate them with their tipples of choice. Hey, maybe Drinkify could even charge these artists to do just that. Or simply paste the entire site in booze-related display ads, though I hope to God that’s not the case.
Even in spite of some imperfections, Drinkify racked up over 5 million page views in only three days. Clearly, it has a few addictive ingredients — and if it refines itself from Carlo Rossi into a fine California merlot, maybe it’s got a shot at the big time.
Let us know what you think, and try not to throw all your rotten vegetables at once.