Skip to Content

iPad App Adds Incidental Music to Your Life

Want to turn the mundane details of your day into a moving episode of This American Life? There’s an app for that.

Ever fancied yourself as a David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and Ira Glass–otherwise known as the brilliant, nebbishy hosts of NPR’s This American Life.

For this year’s Music Hack Day San Francisco, Dale Low and Brent Noorda reverse engineered their radio show. They discovered that the secret to making regular Joes and Janes sound profound is to liberally sprinkle emotionally charged musical interludes in between their otherwise unremarkable blather.

Here’s a picture of Dale telling a story so pedestrian that only an inanimate object (his iPad, pictured) could stand to listen.

(He’s actually using another app, Soundbiter, to do the recording.)

The team’s Hack Day app, The Profoundilizer, goes to work after he scans through the sound file, searching for a place to insert a musical cue. Before The Profoundilizer, he’d be forced to then embark on a laborious search for music of the right mood, and with appropriate rights attached.

Instead, the app pops open a search field that can accept natural language input. It scans music-sharing services cc:mixter and, if they ever finish the app, SoundCloud and Indaba.

Now he previews the sound file, drops it in if he likes it, and repeats the process a few more times. Next, as the developers put it, “Dale sees and hears that his original recording is now way more interesting. He is more interesting. He is profound.” And here’s the proof: The Profoundilized version of Dave’s day (streaming audio). It took him all of two and a half minutes to produce the piece using his app.

Those of you who would like to give This American Life a run for their money by Profoundilizing your own experiences should contact the developers directly.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.