Steinhardt Music Business Graduate Students Win Competition to Design a Social Impact Campaign for Common and Pandora

Jason Joven, Josh Viner, Ada Bensadon Halioua, and Whitney Dublin, second year master’s candidates in Steinhardt’s music business program, won the Pandora Challenge:  Music and Social Impact Program, held at NYU on October 18, 2017.

The goal the competition was to design a national social impact campaign for Oscar and Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist, actor, poet, and film producer, Common.  The workshop was hosted by executives from Pandora and Real Industry, along with Steinhardt’s Music Business faculty and the NYU Music + Social Change Lab.  More than 200 undergraduate and graduate students took part in the challenge, using music, technology, and marketing to launch a social initiative to engage Common’s fans.

Using Pandora and Next Big Sound‘s data to engage Common‘s voice, music, and platform, students competed by creating social impact campaigns that encouraged wellness, mental health, and mindfulness in communities of color. A panel of experts from industry judged the marketing plans and gave students real-world feedback.  

Pandora Challenge winners, Whitney Dublin and Ada Bensadon Halioua (left to right).

The experts were Michael Latt representing Common, Heather Ellis and Brittany Holloway from Pandora, and Jay LeBoeuf and Priyanka Shekar from Real Industry.  

NYU faculty judges were Larry Miller, director of Steinhardt’s Music Business Program, and Carlos Chirinos, director of NYU Music and Social Change Lab.

“The Music and Social Impact Program offered students an opportunity to support brothers and sisters around the country through a campaign that Common and his team are really passionate about,” said Latt, social impact advisor for Common.

Jason Joven and Josh Viner (left to right) were members of the winning team.

Shekar, program director at Real Industry, noted that the challenge also gave NYU students the chance to experiment with cutting edge industry tools, including real artist data and massive music streaming audiences.  

The goal of Joven, Viner, Halioua, and Dublin’s winning proposal was to destigmatize mental health issues for Common’s audiences. The plan incorporated creative expression, local wellness-oriented business support, and shared experiences about mental health issues as a means toward increasing the self-esteem of African American women.

Among the prizes the team will receive are a visit to Pandora’s New York City office for a meeting with Pandora executives and a night at their Sounds Like You, featuring Post Malone, SZA, Ty Dolla $ign, and Cheat Codes.

“We were delighted to host the Pandora Challenge: Music and Social Impact Program at NYU Steinhardt because this is where we teach our students how to blend their passion for music with their desire to make a difference.  This challenge, and Common’s participation, is a fantastic real-world opportunity for tomorrow’s music business leaders,” said Larry Miller, director of Steinhardt’s music business program.


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