Spotify Session featuring BEAT Rhymers

Some of our favorite bands have performed on the Spotify Sessions stage, including A Great Big World, Lykke Li, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  Last week, 10 students from The East Side Community School in NYC took the same stage to perform their own original works.

These students are a part of a local program called BEAT Rhymers, which helps schools provide students with opportunities to explore creative writing, beatboxing and making music.  And while students learn skills to make them better artists, they also build confidence through performances and by developing a support system within the program.  Our Spotify office was pumped to be their audience for the afternoon.

“What an amazing and rare opportunity our students from the BEAT Rhymers program had to perform at the NYC Spotify office for staff and friends.  Each student blessed the stage with his/her own raps, rhymes, poems and beats displaying the skills learned in the program.  Conversely, the wonderful staff at Spotify blessed the students with a panel and Q&A discussion outlining the music industry and the individual hustle it takes to make it in the business.  It was an incredible afternoon full of music, fellowship and creative bonding,” said James Kim, founder of the BEAT program.

Learn more about BEAT program and the East Side Community School, and tell us what you think below.

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About BEAT

Our mission at Bridging Education & Art Together (B.E.A.T.) is to make a transformative difference in the lives of NYC’s under-served youth through exciting and culturally relevant music, dance and writing programs which include beatboxing, B-boying/B-girling (breakdance), music production/composition, and creative writing.

By engaging, retaining, challenging and teaching life-skills to the students in our programs through music, writing and dance, B.E.A.T. aims to help mold a new generation of leaders and creative thinkers who themselves will inspire and impact the generations to follow.

Presently B.E.A.T. provides four free programs servicing middle and high school students in NYC.

Beat Rockers, a beatboxing program for blind and visually impaired students at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx with Head Instructor, Taylor McFerrin and Instructors Chesney Snow and Beatsmyth

Beat Breakers, an after-school Bboy/Bgirl (breakdance) program currently offered at the Taylor Wythe Homes (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) with Director Ken Swift and Bboy WaAak1

Beat Makers, an after-school music production, career development and song composition program offered at the Eastside Community High School in Manhattan with Head Instructor DJ Dhundee

Beat Rhymers, an after-school creative writing, poetry, spoken-word, self-expression and music composition class taught by world-class MC and producer, Why.

 

About The East Side Community School

The East Side Community School is small 6-12th grade college preparatory school located on the Lower East Side.  We set high standards for each of our students and help them meet these standards by providing personal attention, a safe and respectful environment, a strong sense of community, and curricula that is both challenging and engaging.  Students, staff, families and community members all see themselves as part of a team whose main goal is the success of every individual student. The goal of the school is to create a community of highly skilled students, lifetime learners and critical thinkers who, upon graduation, will be prepared to go to college and enter the work world.   Through programs like BEAT, we strive to help every student find their passion and develop their talents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotify Picks – David Whiting

David WhitingWe’re back with this year’s first #FavoriteFollow, David Whiting, from our Stockholm office. Listen to some of his favourite tunes and learn stuff about David you never knew you didn’t know!

Where are you from and how did you end up at Spotify?

I grew up in the UK, moving around various parts of the west country playing in all kinds of bands, studying Mathematics in Bath and eventually ending up in London doing Data Engineering for Last.fm. In early 2013 when the pace of London life all got a bit much for my rural roots, I crossed the North Sea to join Spotify in Stockholm.

What is your role at Spotify?

I work on the Data Infrastructure team, which supplies the technology necessary to process the huge amounts of data that Spotify produces every day. A lot of the time this means trying to solve tough programming problems with headphones on and the volume up to 11.

What is your most memorable concert?

As an attendee, probably the time I saw Crystal CastlesFriendly Fires and White Lies all on the same bill for around £10 in early 2008. It was at this really cool venue called Thekla in Bristol, which is a boat permanently moored near the city centre with space for about 300 people. All three of the bands went on to be massive, so It’s amazing that I saw them all in one go.

As a performer, it’s almost certainly playing to a 500-strong entirely captive audience while opening for VNV Nation at the O2 Academy in Islington, London last month with my band Heretics.

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?

In September I got the chance to go to NYC for a couple of weeks to work with colleagues in the office there and to give a talk at the local Hadoop User Group, which was a really great trip.


Which album would you say defined your adolescence and why?

When I was 17 years old, my music taste was limited mostly to old 80s electronic bands and brit-pop from the 90s. A friend lent me a copy of Brand New’s “Deja Entendu” and it opened me up to a whole world of music and concerts and friends. In the end, it’s probably the only album from that alternative emo rock scene which still sounds great today; there was a load more albums from various bands that I used to listen to at the time, but this is the only one I still come back to.

If you had to describe yourself in one song, what song would it be?

Demoscene Time Machine – The Greatest Adventure

It’s a bit of a cheat because I wrote it, but I think it sums up my attitude to life pretty well.

What song do you have on repeat right now?

Light Asylum – Shallow Tears – such power and intensity, I can’t get enough of it; or if I’m in more of a party mood, the Shiny Mob remix of Gangsterlove by Alice Francis.

What is the best band name ever?

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

If you could choose to be in any band throughout history, which would it be?

I think being in Kraftwerk in the 70s and helping to shape the whole future of popular music by the pioneering use of synthesisers would be amazing.

Tell me about your picks.

My music taste is really varied, so I’ve tried to include a representative sample from lots of different styles, compiled from a combination of my Spotify playlists, my jams on This Is My Jam and my Last.fm listening data. You’ll hear synthpop, indie, nu-disco, electro-swing, chiptune, acoustic, folk and dark electronics in the playlist, so if you don’t like what you’re hearing, then you might well find something you like if you skip a few.

Check out David’s picks here and be sure to Follow him on Spotify!

 

SXSW, here we come!

For a third, fantastic year, we will be painting Austin green. From March 10th through the 14th, the Spotify House will be your go-to venue to unwind and discover the best in new music.

This year, we’re moving to a brand new venue with more room to check out bands and catch up with friends.

Our 2014 lineup boasts 30+ must-see acts – including emerging stars G-Eazy and MØ, along with Glass Animals, Tove Lo, Jungle and Betty Who, to electro rockers Phantogram, St. Paul and The Broken Bones and many more – we’ve got something for everyone! In years past, Spotify has hosted a number of break-out artists during SXSW such as Kimbra, Haim, Kendrick Lamar, Tom Odell and St. Lucia and this year will be no different. Get the full line-up day by day here.

The CW Network, partner of The Spotify House and home of shows including The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, and Supernatural, will have stars from the upcoming sci-fi drama The 100 and other hit series stopping by to hang with some of the coolest new bands.

For even more awesomeness on the ground, we’ll be introducing a music-themed mosaic photo booth created by The Brigade, an interactive playlist generator as well as music trivia installation created by Beak Labs.

RSVP now and follow us on our dedicated SXSW Spotify handle @sxspotify to stay up to date on the latest news and giveaways! You can also subscribe to our text line [Text YES to 61235] to get up-to-the-minute updates from all the activity on the ground.  With so much on the go, be sure to follow us on Vine and Instagram for more information about our SXSW plans this year.

See you at SXSW!

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Staff Picks – John Brophy

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 11.59.11 AMAre you a Daft Punk fan? Have you played Get Lucky one too many times? Today’s #FavoriteFollow has the perfect playlist for you. Get to know Spotify’s Web Product Owner, John Brophy, below, and catch up on his “Sounds Like Daft Punk” list after the jump!


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What is your role at Spotify?
I’m Product Owner for one of our web development squads in NYC. I work with a number of developers and designers creating our fantastic http://www.spotify.com.  It’s a pretty crazy fast paced role sometimes – but I love it – I have something new on my plate every day!

Where are you from and how did you end up at Spotify?
I’m originally from England. I joined Spotify in 2010 after 7 years running a social network for clubbers.

What about Spotify do you love most?
It’s great to be part of such an amazing team. We’re constantly growing and learning what makes our users tick. Everyone has a really entrepreneurial attitude towards work – there are no slackers, everyone loves to be here. I’m really proud to be working on something that is redefining an industry.

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?
Shaking hand with Demi Moore in the office and her saying “Hi I’m Demi”. Like.. no shit?

What is your most memorable concert?
Daft Punk at Hyde Park in 2007. Mind blowing.

If you had to describe yourself in one song, what song would it be?
Firestarter – The Prodigy

What is the best band name ever?
Dananananaykroyd

 

Staff Picks – Christian Wilsson

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Another week, another #FavoriteFollow! Today, meet our Director of Communication Design Christian Wilsson, fondly known here as Kribba. This Stockholmer will be sure to soundtrack your Friday with his great picks.  Get to know some fun trivia about Kribba below!

Where are you from and how did you end up at Spotify?
Been working with design for 15 years and the last 3 years at Spotify. Before joining Spotify I ran my own production agency for 2 years and prior to that I was part of the founding crew at Stardoll where I also met Daniel Ek. Did a lot of freelance work for Spotify including the very first version of the logo before joining in 2010 as Head of Design.

What is your role at Spotify?
I manage a team of awesome designers in Stockholm and New York working with the brand and our marketing efforts. We’re part of the marketing department and I report to the VP of Creative and Brand.

What is your most memorable concert?
Jurassic 5 at the Fanclub festival in Stockholm 1998.

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?
Standing on the stage at the big Spotify warehouse party at SXSW ’13, during Kendrick Lamar’s first set of the week. The place was going nuts and Kendrick’s performance was awesome.

What about Spotify do you love most?
The people who work here and the pride you feel being part of something that people everywhere is using.
If you had to describe yourself in one song, what song would it be?
World Wide Web – Nick Borgen ;)

Which album would you say defined your adolescence and why?
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Through the discovery of this awesome album I got interested in music and then discovered more and more cool American bands, such as Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. “Alive” by Pearl Jam is still one of the best songs ever.

What song do you have on repeat right now?
Under Control – Calvin Harris

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?
Watching Frank Ocean perform at our Discover, Browse and Follow launch event in New York December 2012

What is the best band name ever?
The Kristet Utseende

If you could choose to be in any band throughout history, which would it be?
Daft Punk. Simply because I’d love to design my own helmet.

 

Staff Picks – Bryan Grone

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 10.00.40 AMKick-start November with some awesome indie hits. This week’s #FavoriteFollow, Bryan Grone, works on our Label Relations team in New York, and has some great tunes to get you through this Friday. Learn some fun trivia about Bryan below!


  

Where are you from and how did you end up at Spotify?
I grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music. After spending several years playing in bands and finishing up school, I moved to Los Angeles and worked for Warner Music Group for 5 years before moving to Brooklyn to start working for Spotify.

What is your role at Spotify?
I’m on the label relations team at Spotify in NYC, and I work with the labels to market and promote all the records they have coming out each week. One of the biggest perks is getting to hear all sorts of amazing new music every day, and thinking of cool ways to introduce that music to the Spotify listener.

What is your most memorable concert?
It’s definitely a toss up between Beastie Boys w/ A Tribe Called Quest, in the round in 1998 on the Hello Nasty tour, and seeing Paul McCartney for the first time in 2000. I grew up on the Beastie Boys, but was also such a Beatles nerd, tough to choose one over the other.

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?
Standing on the stage at the big Spotify warehouse party at SXSW ’13, during Kendrick Lamar’s first set of the week. The place was going nuts and Kendrick’s performance was awesome.

If you had to describe yourself in one song, what song would it be?
Faces – Ooh, La, La

What song do you have on repeat right now?
Lucius – Hey Doreen

What is the best band name ever?
The Grateful Dead

If you could choose to be in any band throughout history, which would it be?
The Band

 

Staff Picks – Kurt Wasserman

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 10.39.26 AMBringing you the best of the 80’s, today’s #FavoriteFollow is our New York QA Chapter lead, Kurt Wasserman. Check out some fun facts about Kurt, and his awesome playlist below!


 

Where are you from and how did you end up at Spotify?

I have been in software testing since 1986. I’ve tested everything from bank software on mainframes to Facebook games. My connection to Spotify was through the previous VP of Engineering who was, effectively, getting the band back together from a previous job. Back in 2011, I was the 3rd hire in the NYC Tech department; 1 VP of Engineering, 1 Developer and me, the 1 QA Engineer.

What do you do at Spotify?

I am the manager of the test team here in NYC. We work directly with the feature teams to ensure that everything the customer sees and listens to is of the highest quality.

What is your most memorable concert?

Kraftwerk – Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC – June 2005 – Being first in line and first row center with my friend of 30+ years and fellow fan.

What about Spotify do you love most?

The work we do here is for software that people CHOOSE to use. This is not some office efficiency tool or some other dry utility. This is the way people get their music and we have a direct and amazingly positive influence on people’s free time. That is more important to me than any job I have had.

What song do you have on repeat right now?

Subdivisions by RUSH – I was just explaining the lyrics to my 6 year old son.

What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?

The day we went live in the US was definitely the high point of my time here at Spotify. So many people were waiting for the switch to be thrown and so many people were watching us. A mere two weeks after I was hired, there we all were, glued to the charts watching the number of subscribers go up and up and up. It was like watching a space launch. And then there was the day I met Jimmy Buffett at the office…

What do you think is the coolest band name ever?
Devils Wielding Scimitars

Check out Kurt’s 80’s Mega Mix here, and be sure to follow him on Spotify!

All Star Code

IMG_1585Did you know African-Americans comprise less than 1% of startup founding teams?  This weekend, Spotify teamed up with All Star Code, a new nonprofit that’s addressing this issue by providing resources to bring more young African-American men into the tech industry. 

 All Star Code’s goal is to attract, prepare, and place high-potential, qualified young black men in the tech-career pipeline and help them achieve full-time employment at tech companies.  And since we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to become a great designer, engineer, or founder of the next big idea in tech, we worked with this amazing organization to bring 20 of these teens into Spotify’s NYC offices for the first-ever All Star Code workshop

The students were challenged to create their own startups…in just one day.  Working in teams, Kane Sarhan, friend of All Star Code and co-founder of The
Entstitute led students through identifying market opportunities, designing a logo, wire-frame exercises, and the development of marketing plans.  At the end
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of it all, each team had to pitch their business to an audience of judges from the tech industry, volunteers, and their parents. 

Spotify employees from all over the company spoke about different careers in tech and provided mentorship to the student teams, helping them address everything from logo design to revenue strategies.  The teens were incredible–smart, interested, and passionate about their projects.  And at the end of the day, the final presentations blew everyone away.  The winning team was L.G.M (Lion Gaming Music), a mobile composition and gaming app for reggae music. 

 Know someone who might benefit from All Star Code’s summer prep program or want to get involved with the organization?  Join their mailing list or email them at: team@allstarcode.org

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Photo credit: Michael Schwartz

 

 

 

 

Some sweet stuff from Music Hack Day Stockholm!

Last weekend we hosted a Music Hack Day in Stockholm bringing together programmers, developers, musicians and designers to conceptualize, build and demo the future of music. Over this period of 24 hours, a ton of interesting stuff was developed and we thought we’d share of the some highlights!

One of the standout apps was Orly, which enables you to check if the track you’re currently playing on Spotify samples, borrows from, or even covers another track. Fun!

Some other great stuff born from the event includes:

  • Floor Filler – an app that can detect if the crowd is dancing, and will change the song for you when they don’t. No better way to keep the party going!
  • Extendify – a Google Chrome Extension that adds Spotify Play Buttons on sites with information related to music (artists, playlists, tracks…)
  • Joggify – a mobile musical experience designed to give you maximum motivation and energy while running. The iOS app plays a curated Spotify playlist while keeping track of your movements using accelerometer data. If you happen to stop, your music will grind to a halt too! A genius way to keep motivated while training!

For the first time ever, this hack day also got its own soundtrack via a dedicated Soundrop room. Tune in here to check out the the tunes that the coders listened to while working on all this awesome stuff.