Cloudinary Blog

Sound Browser: How a Fizzy-Drink Spill Produces a Grand Prize Winner at Capitol360

Sound Browser: Grand Prize Winner of the Capitol360 Hackathon

Music videos, which comprise an important part of the video-streaming industry, are consistently the most-viewed content on streaming giants, such as YouTube and Vimeo. In exchange for free viewing, those channels serve advertisements for revenue. That business model creates a clumsy user experience, however, as a result of often-repeated ads that don't relate to the content.

Twenty-Four Hours and Counting

At the Capital360 Hackathon held in early June, mobile and web developer Brian Cottrell teamed up with 3D artist Candie Quach to build—in only 24 hours—Sound Browser, an amazingly impressive app that runs on the Fire TV platform. For that effort, they walked away with two thousand dollars in cash, five Ethereum coins, and the bragging rights to be called the Capitol360 Hackathon Grand Prize Winner.

Webinar
How to Optimize for Page Load Speed

The team expertly delivered images and a streaming video of exclusive content from Capitol Music with Cloudinary, which honored them with an award for Best Implementation of Cloudinary APIs.

Remarkably, the decision to build the Fire TV app was “last minute,” as Brian put it:

"Sound Browser, which ended up winning the grand prize at the Capitol360 hackathon, began with a last-minute decision to disconnect my FireTV and pack it along with my computer, moments before leaving for the event. Upon arrival, I had no idea what kind of project I would end up building and it wasn't until after the conclusion of the idea pitches, speaking with every sponsor, and after most other teams were formed and well underway that I finally decided on building a TV music video browsing and shopping app."

The most interesting thing about music tech hackathons is the tremendous amount of interesting ideas that are pitched and floating around the room. AR/VR, streaming of music services, monetization plays on blockchain--the list flows endlessly.

Taking an idea stream and turning it into an MVP that you can demo in the next 24 hours is real challenge for hackers. Time is so limited that you really must focus on finding the kernel of the idea, teaming up, and producing a minimum viable product that clearly showcases your concept.

The hackathon took place at the icon Capitol Studios in Studios A and B, a historic venue where music greats like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and score of other amazing singers made their careers. Packing 20 teams into the venue in such close quarters made the experience intimate.

At one point in the evening, someone got bumped, accidentally pouring a can of soda all over Eric Robinson’s laptop and basically clearing the table. Eric was able to dry out his laptop and continue to build Shorter AR and win the Cloudinary API prize for Most Creative. That spill changed the course of the evening for Brian, who explained:

“I narrowly avoided a can of soda that was spilled at my table and drenched the belongings of several other hackers. By that time, there was no one left to team up with. So, after asking all the people I could find if they were interested in joining and, coming up short, I eventually started working on the application, knowing that it was now or never given the relatively short build time. I then made a last attempt to find teammates and was able to convince a friend of mine, Candie, to join my project as night approached.”

Finally teamed up and ready, Brian and Candie divided the work and crushed it.

Sound Browser

The Ins and Outs

Brian and Candie built Sound Browser for Fire TV, a music-video browsing app, which includes a shopping interface for purchasing products featured in the videos. With that app, you can navigate a set of customizable, auto-generated playlists and zero in to the content to play. Behind the scenes is AI auto-tagging of videos, through which you can browse products discovered in the selected content and make purchases from the app. Sound Browser aims to create a seamless user experience—while still generating revenue for musicians—by presenting opportunities to purchase not only the products in the content you are viewing but also the musicians’ branded merchandise. In addition, you can buy directly through the TV app on Amazon's in-app purchasing system. All in all, an effortless shopping experience.

Sound Browser is an Android TV app built with Java on Android Studio. The playlists are generated by TiVo's playlist creator according to various styles and themes. Retrieval of content and metadata is accomplished by means of the Rovi Music API with platform-optimized media offered by Cloudinary's image and video management services.

Sound Browser

Congratulations, Brian and Candie, for a job well done.

Recent Blog Posts

A New, Simple Tool for Creating Text Overlays for Images

Many Cloudinary users desire a UI for tasks like creating text overlays for images, which they then embed on webpages or download for marketing campaigns. Generating such overlays with the Cloudinary Media Library UI involves a bit of a learning curve, especially if they require multiple fonts or text lines, which even experienced users might find challenging to implement.

Read more
Transitioning JPEG-Based to JPEG XL-Based Images for Web Platforms

When the JPEG codec was being developed in the late 1980s, no standardized, lossy image-compression formats existed. JPEG became ready at exactly the right time in 1992, when the World Wide Web and digital cameras were about to become a thing. The introduction of HTML’s <img> tag in 1995 ensured the recognition of JPEG as the web format—at least for photographs. During the 1990s, digital cameras replaced analog ones and, given the limited memory capacities of that era, JPEG became the standard format for photography, especially for consumer-grade cameras.

Read more

Amplify Your Jamstack With Video

By Alex Patterson
Amplify Your Jamstack With Cloudinary Video

As defined by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amplify is a set of products and tools with which mobile and front-end web developers can build and deploy AWS-powered, secure, and scalable full-stack apps. Also, you can efficiently configure their back ends, connect them to your app with just a few lines of code, and deploy static web apps in only three steps. Historically, because of their performance issues, managing images and videos is a daunting challenge for developers. Even though you can easily load media to an S3 bucket with AWS Amplify, transforming, compressing, and responsively delivering them is labor intensive and time consuming.

Read more
Cloudinary Helps Move James Hardie’s Experience Online

While COVID has affected most businesses, it has been particularly hard on those that sell products for the physical ‘brick and mortar’ world. One company that literally fits that bill is our Australian customer James Hardie, the largest global manufacturer of fibre cement products used in both domestic and commercial construction. These are materials that its buyers ideally want to see up close, in detail. When customers have questions, they expect personal service.

Read more