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Idea

Collective Dj'ing cafe

Image credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI-AFAiGtHY

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Povilas S
Povilas S Aug 25, 2021
The concept: A cafe (or another similar public establishment) where every visitor can get access to the sound system and pick their song of choice to be played through the speakers. The sound system is not divided to uniquely accommodate different rooms, tables, etc., so whatever you'll pick everyone in the cafe will be listening to.

The details: The trick is to divide the availability to control the sound system equally amongst all people in the cafe. After playing your song of choice you'd have to wait until all others had their chance to play something and your turn came back again. The degree of your availability would depend on how many people are in the cafe at the given moment and how many of them are willing to use their right to control the music.

I think the best way to go about this would be by using a request-based model - whenever you felt willing to play your song of choice you could request the system to do so, it would then show you how many people are already in line and when your turn will come, it would additionally notify you just before your turn to pick a song. At times where there would be no requests, the system would pick something automatically itself until the request comes.

On a technical level this would take implementing a computer into each table present at the cafe that the customers sit at. Baristas should also have the possibility for their equal input in this. The screen could be a part of the table surface, covered with safety glass so that you could put things on it, but be sensitive to the touch at the same time to enable interactions from the users. Having additional means of input (apart from the touchscreen) is a good idea - like a keyboard and mouse in a drawer under the table.

You'd be able to log in to your personal account on spotify, youtube, other music streaming platforms and play songs from your personal playlists or simply search for anything using the search function. The system would log you off and delete your data automatically when leaving the table.

The system could and perhaps should also have some basic Dj'ing features like overlapping two different songs, beat matching, volume fade in and out, etc., so that people who are familiar with these functions could use them and make the experience even better for everyone. A simple guide on how to use them would also be presented by the system so that the people willing to learn could do it and try them out in practice. Even if you ruined the music once or twice by trying to learn something this wouldn't be a big deal since you wouldn't get the chance to do it so often.

Another cool feature would be to highlight the table which picked the current song either in a physical space (by lighting it up, make it blink, etc.) or within the digital system (on each computer monitor). The first option seems like more fun, but the last one is more private which most people would probably prefer. There could also be an option to totally hide that the song was picked by you. However, to prevent people from randomly playing anything and messing with the system for fun just because they can I think publicizing which table picked the song as a mandatory feature is a good idea. It also encourages social interactions.

I think enabling a feedback system is also a good idea, people could vote whether they like the song that you picked or not and you could try something different accordingly if you wished to improve in that regard. If your table was highlighted while playing the song, this would encourage more live feedback and interactions from nearby tables. There could also be an option to give your turn to play a song to someone whose songs you enjoyed enabling that person to play more songs of their choice in a row.

Benefits that this idea brings: Good business model to attract customers. Less need to worry about adapting the music to the generalized taste of customers, cause they'll have the means to do it themselves. A test model to approach collective Dj'ing, where everyone participating in the listening of music/dancing can also contribute to what is playing, instead of one person being responsible for all the music or using a totally autonomous system. A good way to break the social ice and get unfamiliar people to start communicating with each other.

If such a system was proven to be successful/desirable it could be implemented in various places, not only cafes or other commercial indoor spaces where people gather but also free ones like public squares, shopping mall passages, libraries, parks, etc.

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Creative contributions

An AI-generated playlist based on the audience's music taste

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Sep 09, 2021
The adoption of streaming platforms has become more common recently. The youtube music suggestion algorithm is one of the best algorithms that suggest songs that a person might like based on other songs that the person likes. This same process can be replicated for all the people in a location. That way the music is almost always relevant to the club's audience.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 days ago
That's a pretty cool idea in and of itself. Different from what Povillas was aiming at, but pretty cool.

If people entering the club can somehow log into google, the youtube API could be polled for info (music tastes) and an average of everyone in the club could be calculated.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 days ago
Darko Savic It's not that different from what I was aiming for in a sense that it brings the music of the venue closer to the taste of the visitors. That's still way better than just having a playlist made by cafe owners, baristas, etc., which has no direct link to what the visitors like. It's just that Samuel Bello's idea lacks the live interaction part, but the two could be combined:)

Logging in to google might not be enough, cause not everyone uses youtube as their main music streaming platform, some use spotify and perhaps apple users use apple music, etc. There should be a possibility to log in to any of the main music streaming platforms. That kind of system should be good at combining music from different streaming platforms into one playlist, which in my experience is not an easy task. When I tried to search for comfortable software to do this, I wasn't able to find one. But that was some time ago.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 days ago
You mean that everyone would log in to some music streaming platform and the algorithm would approximate the playlist of the cafe according to each visitor's listening history? That's not a bad idea, it's just that live interactions from the visitors is kind of the main point, but such approximating algorithm could take over when nobody would be willing to control the sound system themselves

Is it just a modern Jukebox or more?

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Juran Aug 26, 2021
The idea you have sounds like the idea people had in the 1890s when the primitive jukebox was invented . It was then connected with real instruments and would physically play a song that a customer picked. With the advancements in technology, "coin-powered" music machines were connected to more and more advanced music-playing devices. Nowadays, jukeboxes go digital (like everything else) and something similar to your idea already exists, but as an app (TouchTunes, JukeboxStar). The linked apps allow you to "play the jukebox at over 65,000 bars, restaurants, and local hot spots".

The great benefits of these apps are that they offer solutions that are easily implementable, do not require high investments, and can be easily adaptable depending on the type of business you manage. In contrast, your idea seems very limiting and expensive (custom-made tables with integrated computers and the ability to be highlighted, maintenance of all the electronics, waterproofing, securing all the parts from stealing, fire, etc.). On the other hand, your idea of a DJ-ing cafe gives people a concept they would love and want to visit again (extra value).

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jukebox

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Povilas S
Povilas S23 days ago
Thanks for your contribution, and the points you made, Juran. First about jukeboxes - In my entire life (and a considerable part of it was spent hanging out in cafes) I've never seen or used a jukebox - nor in Lithuanian, neither anywhere in Europe (I've been in a lot of countries here) nor even in the US (although I've only been there for a short time, but still). So my conclusion is - they are not common (it's mostly or solely a US thing as far as I understand and if they are available somewhere these days then America is the place, also, I imagine that currently, it's more about maintaining a certain retro trend than bringing a practical value, although I can't say for sure, I'm not from the US). Same as Darko Savic, I only saw them in movies.

I got this idea exactly because in my environment there is nothing used to enable people to freely control the music in public places. On top of that - jukeboxes are not the same. Firstly because they are usually paid (it's like a wending machine for music). Secondly, they provide only a very limited possibility to control the music of the venue. My idea is also oriented towards collaboration - I see such a system as a test model to approach collaborative Dj'ing and bring people closer that way. It starts with providing the basic ability to choose a song for each individual, but the final vision is to get people to collaborate and create something beautiful together.

And yes, as you rightly mentioned in the last sentence - the venue fully equipped for that purpose is a cool concept and therefore would be an attractive place to visit. It's like having a room with a Dj console designed to be used by many people at the same time. The apps could serve as a replacement, but they'd have to be improved and adapted to fulfill the features described in this idea. I've checked out the ones you linked, but I don't understand how they'd function if say many people wanted to take control of the jukebox through them at the same time.

Also, if using the apps for the same purpose, then the physical jukebox should be replaced by the digital version (simply a similar software described in this idea connected to a good physical sound system). So it wouldn't be that much different. But again - using apps might be more convenient, but it wouldn't be as cool:) Everybody is with their smartphone in public places anyway, leaving it aside in order to use something locally integrated creates a different atmosphere.

Finally, I don't think that installing the system I've described here in some cafe would cost that much. Sure it would take some money for development and installation, but there's nothing so complicated about it to make it very expensive. I think it would pay off quite quickly due to the public attention and customers it would attract. In order not to make a fee just for the entrance, the prices of food and drinks could be made slightly more expensive than in regular cafes.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic23 days ago
I think it's a good idea. Jukeboxes are due to be recreated with new technology:)
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Juran19 days ago
Povilas S Hahaha, okay, okay. I have used them hundreds of times and spent my entire summer pocket money on them back in the '00s.

I must say that the mechanism behind the apps is unknown to me, too and yes, by not using mobile phones, the atmosphere would be much different.

In my opinion, what you propose is an example of a cool "themed" place where you want to hang out. It's not about growing big and earning money, but to become different and consequently, successful (on a small scale), right?

Consensus-based playlist

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 25, 2021
The venue guests could see the upcoming playlist and influence the order by upvoting/downvoting the songs via some kind of a fair voting system.

Intermittent jamming and improvement sessions

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 26, 2021
Intermittently, probably when every interested DJ has had their turn once, a jamming session could be initiated. Where every DJ adds one feature of their choice to create a novel collaborated track.

Also, if the DJ playing the song allows, others could pitch in in ways that they think would improve the song. If the person playing it likes the improvement, they could keep it otherwise mute it.
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Povilas S
Povilas S23 days ago
Good suggestions, Shubhankar Kulkarni, thank you! You are the only one (so far) who focused directly on the collaboration aspect of the idea, that's mainly what it is about!:)

Highlight the location of whom the song is dedicated to

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 25, 2021
For additional gamification and peacocking:

When ordering a song you would get a map of the place and click on the approximate location to pinpoint the location of the group or person to whom the song is dedicated to.

Depending on the venue this might or might not make sense. I imagine a club full of people where every group has its "base" location. When your song comes up there could be a spotlight unobtrusively illuminating the area where the group is located.

Even if this is a diner or whatever other venue, there could be a way to tastefully highlight who the song is dedicated to.
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Povilas S
Povilas S24 days ago
Yes, this could be an optional feature to address the song to someone in particular if the sender so desires:) I also think that highlighting the table of the person or group of people who picked the currently playing song is a good idea and could be implemented as more of a mandatory feature. That way everybody (or at least the people who are close to that particular table) would know who picked the song. The person/group would then get either a positive or negative type of attention (or anything in between) xD

Easy way to get everyone to contribute at least a bit

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Povilas S
Povilas S Sep 09, 2021
To make it easier for everyone to initially contribute, the system could request every new visitor who sits down at the table to name a song that they currently/recently enjoy listening to, something they remember liking in the past, or just anything they can think of, the only condition being that they should honestly like it. The screensaver of the monitor would blink that in their face. You could ignore that or turn it off, but this would be a passive and non-public enough action requested from each visitor to get most of the visitors wanting to do that.

The system would add each song indicated by the visitors to the general playlist which would be then played in shuffle mode. That way you wouldn't get "in the spotlight" by choosing the song to play instantly, but would hear your indicated song at some point, when its time “rolled” in the playlist. New visitors would supplement the playlist with new songs. In the meantime, the users who wished, could get access to control the system at any moment, as it’s described in the initial idea summary, but when/if no one was willing to do that, the system would continue with the playlist made from the songs indicated by the new visitors.

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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic24 days ago
When I was a kid I ran into an occasional old movie that showed jukeboxes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jukebox and https://youtu.be/OtzS-6GtfGg) being used for this purpose. Whoever wanted to play a song for the entire place simply inserted a coin, selected the song and on it came.

I'm trying to find a video clip from such a movie but no luck:)
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Povilas S
Povilas S24 days ago
Darko Savic Yes I know what you're talking about, I also saw at least a few of such scenes in movies, perhaps they even are a partial inspiration of the idea. The cafe envisioned in this idea is like a very advanced contemporary version of those jukebox diners;)