MIT’s first Music Hack Day–Where entrepreneurship, computer engineering, and music combine — Philip Cohen, MBA ’13

MIT is known for its excellence in computer engineering. It also has an outstanding, but lesser-known, music and arts program. On Veterans Day weekend, computer engineering and music will connect on the MIT campus, and the result could be important innovations in the way music is produced and enjoyed.

MIT’s first ever Music Hack Day will kick off on Saturday morning at the Stata Center with the gathering of roughly three-hundred software engineers from MIT and several dozen individuals from the music industry itself—artists, developers, and executives. Students from the MIT Sloan School of Management also will be on hand.

In the afternoon, “hackers,” entrepreneurs, and industry affiliates will present the gathering with problems or issues they would like to see solved. The audience will then divide into groups to tackle the most interesting problems. For the next 24 hours—from 2:30 p.m. Saturday to 2:30 p.m. Sunday—each team will work hard to come up with unique and important solutions to the problem it has selected. On Sunday afternoon, teams will reveal their “hacks” in formal presentations to the larger group.

Hackathons are nothing new at MIT. The Institute has hosted many successful hackathons with the goal of solving complex problems within a given industry. The key elements of hacking (e.g.,passion, creative problem solving, teamwork, and tight deadlines) are deeply embedded in MIT’s culture; but this is the first time the highly effective phenomenon of the hackathon will be applied to music at MIT.

I am a second year MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management and an independent musician. My band and I play on the indie rock scene in Boston, New York City, and beyond. I also recently co-founded a company, AudioCommon, which 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.

I organized Music Hack Day for several reasons. I wanted to establish a strong relationship between MIT and the music business by bringing some of the most important players together in one place. Both MIT and the music industry have much to gain from this relationship. The music industry needs help; and, in my eyes, new software applications have the potential to transform the Industry into one that is focused on what matters most– artistic music creation and the artists/musicians themselves.

If you are a software engineer and would like to participate in Music Hack Day, there’s still time to sign up (http://mhdatmit.eventbrite.com). Registration is free. If you’d like to witness what happens when the power of MIT’s software engineering is applied to music, you can sign up to attend the presentations Sunday afternoon (http://mhddemoatmit.eventbrite.com). For more information on the event, visit http://boston.musichackday.org/2012.

Philip Cohen, MIT Sloan MBA 13, is an independent musician and founder of AudioCommon, which 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.

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