Odis brings Alexa voice commands to music production

Brian Heater

The home studio has arguably revolutionized the music industry more than any other single element. Sessions that once required devoted space and tens of thousands of dollars can now be recorded solo in the comfort of one's own home. Of course, the downside of bedroom recording is that there’s often no around one to help out.

Developed over the last 24 hours at the Disrupt hackathon in San Franciso, Odis turns the Amazon Echo into a studio assistant. Using the app, musicians can build atop a given track without having to run back and forth between the computer and microphone. A simple command like “Alexa, play [insert track name here]” will  fire up the backing track, so the musician can do their thing.

Odis is the product a four person team. Tim Street, Ardon Bailey and Nagkumar Arkalgud are coworkers at Capital One who flew down from Seattle to participate in the hackathon. A fourth, Matt Rosenthal, joined the team at the beginning of the event and helped execute much of the programming behind the idea.

As for the name — that was a simple malapropism. “Otis was a guy in a group I used to be a part of,” explains Bailey. “I told Nagkumar that we should call it ‘Otis’ and he spelled it wrong and we went with it. May the gods bless Nagkumar for his genius.”

The app itself is fairly simple, for obvious 24-hour hackathon reasons, but it’s fairly versatile. Odis interfaces with MIDI, which means it will work with a vast majority of music programs, beyond just Logic, which was used in today’s demo. That manner of interfacing with the app can also be used for a variety of different non-music apps, production and otherwise.

The team says it plans to continue development on the project after the hackathon draws to a close today.