What’s currently playing at Shakti Rock Gym?

September 24, 2020

Shakti is a rock climbing gym in Montreal, Canada, and it’s my favorite gym. The first thing that struck me 4 years ago when I started climbing there is the music.

TLDR

I made a Shakti radio, and you can find it on Spotify and YouTube. Those are regular playlists, but they’re updated in real time with the songs that are playing in the gym.

If you tune to the last song (or the one before to be safe), you should be able to listen live to the music at Shakti. Enjoy!

What about the music at Shakti?

It’s just so good.

I was constantly shaking my head bouncing to the music, it hypes me a lot and this kind of atmosphere really drives my energy and motivation.

It’s that good that most of the time, either I know the song and it’s a song I love, or I don’t know the song and I’m going straight away to Shazam it because I love it.

And the best thing is, I don’t think they even try. It seems that whoever is running the gym at a given time is putting whatever music they feel like (so you can usually notice patterns depending on who’s there), which means a lot of different stuff is playing, whether it’s funk, reggae, country, rap, even old school French rap, disco, Latino music, classical, electro, and more!

As my friend Alex puts it brilliantly:

It’s not necessarily music that I would have put myself, but it’s always great.

So why am I writing about that today?

The problem with Shakti music

When I’m at the gym, a lot of times I’m too lazy to go grab my phone and Shazam a song, and I always wished I could just lookup later “what song was playing at Shakti at 17:28” and find it again (something that you can otherwise do on popular radio channels).

Other times, I was at home and I didn’t really have any inspiration on what to listen to, and I wished I could just tune to whatever was playing at Shakti because I knew it would be good.

Basically, I wanted a Shakti radio. And since it didn’t exist, I built it.

Hacking the Shakti vibe to enjoy it all the time

Regardless of who’s putting the music at the gym, they always do it through the same Spotify account (shaktirockgym). You can publicly follow that account and it pops up in your “friend activity” feed.

Friend activity screenshot

As you can see we can… see what’s currently playing at Shakti. As well as what’s Alex listening to. Those are my two only friends, really. I didn’t click “find friends”.

Most apps use HTTP to fetch their data, Spotify is no exception to that. Doing the same calls as the app, you can programmatically know what your friends are listening to.

In case you wonder, the call is:

https://guc-spclient.spotify.com/presence-view/v1/buddylist

By fetching periodically the “friend activity” feed, it’s then trivial to append new songs to a playlist. Easy!

You can find the playlist on Spotify, it’s called Shakti Rock Gym Live.

But I actually don’t use Spotify, I’m more of a YouTube person. So for convenience, I made a YouTube mirror. It uses YouTube Music in the background, and while there’s no bulletproof way of getting the YouTube version of a given Spotify song, I’ve found my method pretty reliable so far.

You can find the code to fetch your friend activity on GitHub, as well as the code for the actual Shakti Radio that feeds the playlists in real time.