News & Media

Tom Odell and the connection between music and science

Your Life Ambassador Melanie Windridge went to see Tom Odell play at the Camden Assembly and learnt something about the connection between music and science in the music industry.

“On 6th December, Tom Odell played an intimate charity show at The Camden Assembly, in aid of the music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins. Tickets were only available via a lottery run by the ticketing app DICE.

Tom Odell was one of a five-show run for Nordoff Robbins, with other artists including Jess Glynne and Kaiser Chiefs. The DICE ticket lottery gave music fans the opportunity to see some of the UK’s biggest names up close whilst raising money for charity. But what also interested me was the DICE app itself – and the career opportunities in the music industry for those with science and maths skills. Music and science have many links.

Under purple lights, Odell opened with Grow Old With Me and continued with favourites like Another Love, a hit in 2013, and Magnetised, from his recent album Wrong Crowd.

The gig was intimate and casual, almost rough-around- the-edges, but that added to its charm. Odell played alone, without his band, to the 200-capacity venue. His piano was a mere metre from the audience and he seemed relaxed as he chatted to them. They were a privileged few, each having played the £2 DICE ticket lottery for a maximum of five tries.

DICE is a London-based ticketing startup that sells mobile tickets without booking fees. They encourage us to go out more, and focus on millennials wanting to discover new bands to see live. They have a slick, colourful interface showing upcoming and nearby shows, you can listen to samples of the music through the app and then easily book tickets.

There is also a waiting list feature where fans who miss out on buying a ticket can be notified if another DICE user later wants to return tickets. They are resold at the original price via the app.

As well as a service to fans, use of the app also generates demand data for DICE that can help promoters and artists improve future events. They are learning about the types of venues that are best for particular artists, or how external conditions such as the weather affect the success of an event. Data skills, gained through studying maths and science, are critical to this work. It is just one example of jobs involving music and science.

Getting into the Christmas spirit, Odell treated the audience to Spending All My Christmas With You from his upcoming Christmas EP set for release that Friday (9th December). The song was originally recorded for the BBC Live Lounge in 2014 and includes a rendition of Jingle Bells in the middle “because,” quipped Odell, “I couldn’t think of a middle 8.” It works.

As a physicist, I enjoyed Odell’s science-y references in songs like Magnetised and – the closing song – Constellations. Science is everywhere, it is part of our everyday lives, and it is nice to see that unintentionally coming through in popular songs. Because, whatever your inspirations, science and maths skills are immensely valuable in our technological world, and DICE is a great example of using these skills in a creative and exciting industry.”

Check out this video for how Shazam works, one way music and science come together.