When you think of the purpose of coding, what comes to mind? Most people think of coding as a means for building programs that other people can use on their computers or, perhaps, even their tablet or mobile devices. They would be correct. However, the power of coding can be used for so much more than just to create the programs and apps people use every day. Code has the potential for building anything you can imagine. In fact, you can use code to both make art and change the way in which people experience it. Here's how code is changing the music industry.
The music industry is inundated with code that builds everything from the music we listen to, the platforms we use to listen to music from our devices, and the concerts we attend. Sure, everyone knows that they can listen to music using platforms such as iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify, but what if you are interested in making your own music?
You can not only access programs that contain pre-coded tools to help you create songs right from your computer, but some programs actually allow musicians to program their own instruments and sounds. Software like Ableton, Pro Tools, and Reason provide users not only the ability to produce masterpieces from their laptops, but also allow coding composers to import their own program tools and even sounds that can be created using audio code languages such as C Sound and Supercollider.
Even the concert and music festival experiences are changing at the hands of those who code. Companies like Xylobands and Pixmob program RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology in the form of arm bands and other handheld devices to create innovative light displays for music festivals and performances by some of the industry’s top artists including Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Black Keys, Arcade Fire, and Tiësto.
Other artists have built apps written in Java and Cocoa to innovate the concert and festival experience. For example, EDM musician Dan Deacon released a free app in 2012 for iPhone and Android that turned the mobile devices of his concert-goers into part of the show. Rather than use RFID, WiFi or the phones’ cell phone connections to interact, the app intuitively responded to audio “calibration tones” from the artist’s set. The result was a way in which Dan Deacon’s fans could truly interact with the lights and sounds of his concerts.
Perhaps you are more interested in classical music. Apps like Octava are striving to enhance the classical concert-going experience by delivering real-time annotations straight to your smart-device informing app users of the piece’s background and facts regarding performance.
No matter your artistic interest or musical taste, code is not just for the computer programmer; it can also be used to compose the musical experience you want to share with the world.