MIT's first ever music hackathon, a round-the-clock competition by teams
of computer programmers, artists, and designers to produce music
software applications, will be held on Nov. 10 and 11 at the Stata
Center, 32 Vassar Street.
The keynote speaker for Music Hack Day at MIT is Fernando Garibay, a
hit-making producer, DJ and artist. He has been nominated for four
Grammy Awards and has worked with Lady Gaga, U2, and Britney Spears. He
was musical director for Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" album.
Sponsored by over a dozen companies and the Martin Trust Center for MIT
Entrepreneurship, the Music Hack Day will attempt to generate innovative
solutions to problems or issues posed by music industry representatives
and entrepreneurs. More than 350 participants, most of them computer
programmers, have signed up for the event.
"I am very excited to bring the music industry to the MIT campus," said
event organizer Philip J. Cohen, a second year MBA student at the Sloan
School of Management and a professional musician. "Even though most
people associate MIT with science and technology, MIT has a phenomenal
music and arts culture."
Hackathons have emerged in the past decade as an important arena for
software development. Although the length of hackathons varies, a
typical event lasts about two days with teams of programmers working all
night, fortified with pizza and energy drinks. The next day, the teams
present their accomplishments to the larger gathering, and prizes are
Hackathons sometimes produce partnerships between hackers and companies
to commercialize computer hacks generated by the events. Hackthons have
been responsible for some important software innovations, including
Facebook's "like" button and video chat feature.
MIT has hosted a number of hackathons in recent years but this is the
first music hackathon on the campus. "MIT has long been a driver of the
hackathon culture," said Cohen. "The computer engineering community and
other parties get together to create some really cool new stuff, and
that is exactly the intent of this Music Hack Day."
The event will start at 9 a.m. Saturday with registration and breakfast,
followed by introductory sessions and lunch. At 2:30 p.m., the hackathon
will begin in earnest with presentations of issues to be resolved. Small
groups will then form to tackle the assignments. The groups will work
until 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with breaks for dinner and breakfast. At 3 p.m.,
the groups will present their hacks.
Cohen said the format is effective. "When you give people hard and fast
deadlines and you also provide them with resources, you create a unique
and interesting culture that supports rapid development initiatives," he
Cohen said he got the idea for the MIT Music Hack Day after attending a
music hackathon earlier this year at the Microsoft New England Research
and Development Center in Cambridge. He said the Somerville firm Echo
Nest, a music data and intelligence platform, has played an important
role in helping to organize the MIT event.
Other sponsors are Spotify, SoundCloud, MusiXmatch, Free Music Archive,
Roqbot, Rdio, Gracenote, DigitalMusic.org, Rhapsody, Twilio, Tokbox, and
AudioCommon, a company Cohen launched earlier this year. In addition to
helping to organize the hackathon, the sponsors provide prizes for the
Cohen, 33, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy who served in
Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, is a singer-songwriter and leader of
the Philip Cohen Band, an indie rock group that plays the club scene in
Boston and New York City. His company, AudioCommon, is developing an
online platform that opens a new avenue of communication for the music
industry, and that artists and studio engineers can use to streamline
the recording process.
Individuals who want to participate in the Music Hack Day can sign up
online at http://mhdatmit.eventbrite.com.
Registration is free. Anyone who wants to observe the presentations on
Sunday can sign up at http://mhddemoatmit.eventbrite.com.
For more information on the event, visit http://boston.musichackday.org/2012
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