The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision participated in the Creative Holland Delegation that visited the NEXT Conference in Hamburg. John Ashley Burgoyne presented their innovative audio projectsthat make the audio archive comes to life.
John Ashley Burgoyne is a music data scientist working for The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision on music projects. For one of these projects he collaborates with the Top2000. The Top2000 is a contest on the radio every year about the 20 best songs ever made. Last year 6 million people voted for what they think are the 20 best songs of all time. Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve the 2000 songs are broadcast on the radio. Ashley: “There is a lot of stability in the list, it has not changed too much over time. You can be pretty sure Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen will be in the top 3.”
Hooked on music. What makes a song catchy?
For Ashley, as a musicologist, the data behind the list is very interesting. He wanted to find out what makes music catchy and the difference between a summer hit you will forget next year and a song which will make it to the Top2000 list. He and his team designed a music experiment in the form of a game called: Hooked on Music. People hear a fragment of music, at the moment people recognized the piece of music the sound mutes for 4 seconds and they had to follow along the silence in their head. The game was played 100.000 times in the Netherlands. They’ve collected all the data and the songs that are easiest to recognize where not the most favorite songs from the Top2000 list, but songs like Wannabe from the Spice Girls and Think from Aretha Franklin. Ashley explains: “Why is this interesting for a sound archive? It’s fun to know how to write the next Top2000 hits but also to help users access the archive material.”
Revive: the dating website for archives and artists
The second project focusses more on today’s music. The site is called Revive and is subscribed as a dating website for archives and artists. Electronic musicians are always looking for music to sample, but it’s better if there is a story behind it. On the other hand, you have archives like the Sound and Vision who are often desperate to have their material re-used in a creative way. So they came up with the idea to curate a selection of their archive, invite some artists who can work with this material and give them a challenge: Can you make an album using only the audio material they are given by Sound and Vision archive? The answer is yes. There have been two albums released for the Revive project. The project received a lot of international press and commercial collaborations.
With these kind of projects Sound and Visions hopes that it will change the perception of archive from an old dusty place to a live source of new material that is fun and interesting.