November 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Drinkify: What To Drink With Your Favorite Music

At the risk of over-simplification, there are only two kinds of apps in the world: those that solve big problems, and those that solve little problems. Where you categorize Drinkify will be largely determined by your lifestyle.

While Music Hack Days solve real problems facing today’s music industry, they’re also about having fun with that same technology. Having attended, we can attest to a fair amount of post-hack libation going down after hours.

Drinkify, which creates signature cocktail suggestions to pair with your favorite artists, is a perfect example of when these worlds collide. It combines elements many of us have come to enjoy about hack days: music, booze, and playing with insane amounts of data — in this case, data about music and booze.

The app has quickly become a crowd favorite, going practically viral in the Twitter community since it went live on Sunday.

Drinkify crafts recipes based on artist data from the Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm) and Last.fm, as well as a “proprietary Drinkify database” because, as the developers astutely noted, “booze still doesn’t have an API.”

We caught up with Drinkify developer Matt Ogle (of the Echo Nest), designer Hannah Donovan (also of The Echo Nest) and Lindsay Eyink (on sabbatical from Apple iTunes) to shed some light on the creation of the already-legendary Drinkify web app.

Matt: We think the best hacks should be about something you love; they should “scratch your own itch” and solve personal problems. We all showed up to the hack day on Saturday fairly hungover, and so booze was on our minds. We needed some hair-of-the-dog style recommendations, and so Drinkify (early name: “Boozi.ly”) was born! 

The question on everybody’s minds — how Drinkify could save the music business (or, if not, at least inspire people to pay for booze), gave us a glimpse of Drinkify’s lofty, if tongue-in-cheek, business model.

 Matt: We’ve actually had bands telling us on Twitter what their fave drinks are, so I figure we can charge artists to associate them with their tipples of choice. And then plaster the site in booze ads. Delicious, delicious monetization. 

Lindsay Eyink mused at a possible future iPhone app with a two-fold purpose:

“Find local liquor stores” and “buy this track” 

Other ideas included drink-recipe T-Shirts in the spirit of Mustachiness, which uses track data to print acoustically-derived “mustaches” on a T-shirt and mugs, and printable recipe cards at the reluctant suggestion of Hannah Donovan, who recently finished a large recipe book project.

None of Drinkify’s recipes are hard-coded, so there’s an opportunity for some real computer-generated humor here. We were happy to see that Drinkify handles even underage artists responsibly (see Justin Bieber’s drink suggestion above.)

Also worth noting, the measurements err towards party-sized (see the screenshot to the right). But who wants to drink alone?

Drinkify is really something to behold, preferably over a cold one. As with any computer-generated response, there are hits and misses. Here are a few gems we came across:

The Kanye West

The Slayer

The Billy Joel

The Ratatat