Apple patents sees iDevices becoming DJ for silent discos

By , Aug 27, 2013


Combine the huge iTunes library of songs with the social aspect of sharing and you have a bit of an idea what might be behind a patent granted to Apple Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent, which describes a ‘Coordinated group musical experience,’ takes a riff off a trendy activity known as ‘silent discos,’ where people gather to listen to a DJ’s music wearing headphones, rather than blaring mega-decibel volumes. Does the patent address a glaring technology need? No, but it does remind us of Apple’s own quirky roots…

According to Apple’s patent abstract (via AppleInsider), the invention involves the “sharing of a music experience amongst a group of people each using a personal communication device,” including the iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Rather than simply sharing song amongst a number of people, the technology transmits a song’s traits, like tempo and number of beats per minute. The system then searches your music database, picks the closest match and we’re off to the disco.

Apple has patented other forms of device sharing, including sharing the flash feature to produce the best lighting for a photograph. Although some quality iOS apps for DJs have been released on the App Store, today’s patent may indicate Apple is considering creating one for its base of iTunes users.

In the patent, the company mentions that the technology for a ‘silent disco’ can fit in a single app. Whether this means a standalone app is possible, or Apple is thinking of including the technology in iTunes – or something not envisioned, is up for conjecture.

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  • FOFF

    silent disco lol

  • Huntz

    Yeah, no. I’ve been DJing professionally for about 6 years now, played many national music festivals including several Silent Discos. You simply can’t teach a computer to program tracks in a set, beat match them, phrase track A over track B correctly, mix them in key, AND read your audience.

    3 REAL DJs, one venue, transmitters, hundreds of tri-color LED headphones with volume control & channel switching to see who’s listening to who. Keep it that way please.

    • FOFF

      i think eventually the artificial intelligence algorithms will be able to emulate human Djaing style yup

      • Huntz

        I don’t think implementing an algorithm can effectively capture the transfer of energy from 10,000 party-goers to 1 man on a stage and vice versa.

      • Carlos

        I disagree. Apps like Pandora or Spotify already know what you like, if everyone connects via social media, a program can be set up to play what the people want to hear.

      • Huntz

        That has nothing to do with DJing – which is what I was talking about.

      • Kevin Schrader

        I can confirm that as I’m a DJ, too… But I think the patent is more like streaming one iTunes playlist to several devices at a time.

      • Carlos

        What is the purpose of a DJ? To mix tracks with different BPMs so that there’s continuous music, people want to hear, playing. So what’s the difference between you and an iPod shuffle? Very few things actually. Trust me, technology can and will replace DJs. I know you want to give yourself credit for what you do, but unless you actually produce the music you press play for, you’re nothing special. Actually, David Guetta produces music and he’s nothing special either; as a matter of fact, I think he uses an iPod shuffle on stage.

      • Huntz

        I’ve produced/released music on over 15 different record labels world wide. What is the purpose you ask? To take an audience on an audible adventure. What’s the difference? Are you seriously asking that? You have obviously never touched turntables in your life.

      • Huntz

        You realize all DJ’s aren’t the same and that each one plays differently right? Some are definitely iPod DJs that couldn’t beatmatch two records at the same speed even if they were the same BPM, some are world renowned technological innovators that could mix on 4 decks with their eyes closed. An iPod does one thing and one thing only – plays a track from start to finish. Next track. Repeat. If you HONESTLY think that’s how DJIng works then you please need to never speak your opinion on the matter ever again. Ever.

      • Carlos

        The problem with the term disc jockey, is the broad list of its definitions. You could say Pandora is a DJ because it does the same thing most radio DJs already do; play a few good songs and cut to commercials. Other DJs just beat match tracks together and they’re still considered a DJ. You might be able to do more than that and if so, congratulations, I consider you an artist and not just a DJ. My point is, I don’t think it’s impossible to assume a program can be created to make a few good decisions such as what to play next or beat match, especially now that many of these programs practically do all the work. You could easily tell when a song has a drop just by looking at the sound waves. Maybe 20 years ago you’d also think it’d be impossible for cars to park themselves but look at them now.

      • Huntz

        Pandora is not DJing. That’s “Jukeboxing”. Mixing two records at the same speed is about 1/10th of actual DJing. A lot of these kids call themselves “DJs” but at the end of the day they are just bored in their bedroom with some shitty gear their parents bought them because they thought it was cool yet give up when they realize how hard it is. You can’t just label all this new shit “DJing” when 25+ years ago DJing was practiced using records and a mixer. That’s it! The problem is the term “DJ” is thrown around so loosely today that any form of multi-musical selection is automatically considered “DJing”. Newsflash, it’s not.

        Fine, go ahead and have your computer software that does everything for everybody. No one’s saying it can’t be done but Is that really want people want? Sacrificing the life within a skilled art form in exchange for a couple gimmicks? A computer will never be as accurate as a human being making real-time decisions behind the decks. You say you don’t think it’s impossible for a computer to handle a couple tasks like beat matching and pressing play – well here’s another newsflash: any shit to basic “DJ” can do that! Not everyone can make it sound GOOD because not all records sound good together. How do you program a computer to know this without pre-planning it? Who does the pre-planning. A human, yo.