Creativity and Innovation Converge at Inaugural Music Business & Technology Innovation Day

(Caitlin Came and Sheng Feng Hu present Gymaestro, a service that lets users explore music via customizable workout playlists.)

On Friday, October 28, Steinhardt held the inaugural Music Business and Technology Innovation Day, organized by MUSB Program Director Catherine Radbill and Music Technology Professor Juan Bello. Undergraduate seniors and graduate students from Professor Radbill’s Entrepreneurship for the Music Industry class teamed up with Graduate and Doctoral students from Professor Bello’s music technology class to build great ideas for a new technology-based music product or service. “The music technology students provided the underlying tech and the music business students worked to figure out how to market and make money on the product or service, in the form of a business plan,” explains Professor Radbill. The judging panel consisted of Professor Radbill and Professor Bello, in addition to special guest panelist Alex White, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Big Sound.

The event opened with an inspirational talk by White. Each group of students was given five minutes to present their slideshow to the panel as well as an audience. The presentations included a description of the service, a sample of the interface and an explanation of their audiences and marketing plans. Group members also examined pre-existing products or services similar to their own, but distinguished why their own product or service was different and better. Students were given feedback from the judges on their presentation skills in addition to their products. Audience members also asked questions and gave suggestions.

(From left: MUSB Program Director Catherine Radbill, Music Technology Professor Juan Bello, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Big Sound Alex White.)

The ideas presented included Audiopilot (a plug-in used to find optimum locations for song transitions in a playlist, eliminating bad transitions or silence between songs), Composination (a songwriting tool that suggests chord progressions to accompany a melody), and Atlas (a tempo and meter map generator for audio inputs).

Since Innovation Day the students have been incorporating the panelists’ feedback in refining their projects, and have also had more pitching practice in class. “In a recent Entrepreneurship class, groups worked with students who are not involved in Innovation Day to discuss their branding, marketing and positioning statements,” said Radbill.

Final presentations of the business plans take place on Monday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 14. On December 12, three of the groups will be pitching to Chris Fralac, a venture capital executive from First Round Capital.