We've all been to a party with music we didn't like at all... With Jamocracy, the host is relieved of the burden of making a playlist that satisfies everybody. All attendees can add songs to the playlist by texting in their song requests.
What it does
The party host logs into Spotify on our site and sets up a playlist name and party code. Party guests text the party code to the Jamocracy phone number, 5129-PLAYME (512-975-2963), to "check in" to the party. Then, they can text in their song choices to add them to the queue. The party host can see the queue on their dashboard on our site or in Spotify.
How we built it
We built Jamocracy using a variety of technologies. We use Twilio's SMS service to handle all texting communication with our partiers. The music searching, selection, and playback is handled by Spotify's music streaming service. The core of our application runs on an Amazon Web Services EC2 instance that hosts our web server (providing the party host dashboard) and a backend java application (receiving and sending texts, coordinating with the website, and managing Spotify playlists). Twilio, Spotify, AWS, and our application combined provide partiers with an amazing music selection experience.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into a few challenges while creating our application. First, errors ocurred when we tried to text to our system with special characters. To solve this, we implemented a parsing method to ensure that special characters are handled correctly. Additionally, we encountered issues with the limitations of Spotify's API. To work around these limitations, we spent ample amounts of time discussing ways to manage a users music despite an restrictions on user data we enountered.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that we implemented a system that can be utilized on a variety of platforms. Since the core music streaming is handled through Spotify, music can be played through almost any device and speaker system. Spotify can play our music from an iPhone/Android mobile device or a laptop/desktop computer and can connect to an Amazon Echo, bluetooth speakers, or any stereo system. Additionally, we are proud of the accessibility and usability of our product. Using Jamocracy's SMS texting communication, almost every partier can submit their song requests and be happy with the music at the party. This means that whether a partier has a flip phone or Google Glass, they can submit their preferences to our application.
What we learned
As a team we learned the value of communication, whether it be between people or between computer systems. When hosting parties, it is important to keep guests happy with the music choices. Through completeing this project, we learned the importance of this and strived to help party hosts make parties more enjoyable for all of their guests. Additionally, we learned that in order to create a successful product many services and technologies have to work together to accomplish one goal. In our case, we developed a product that manages communication between Spotify, Twilio, a web server, and a database.
What's next for Jamocracy
We would like to find ways to expand on Jamocracy by tracking the currently playing song, displaying the current queue to all partiers, and connecting with multiple music services (in addition to Spotify).