The Orchard, Sony Push Boundaries Of Music, Machine Learning With Multi-City Hackathon
Working to encourage teams of industry professionals to ideate and cultivate business solutions merging music and machine learning, The Orchard, Sony Music, and Amazon Web Services hosted their second annual hackathon, with some exciting results.
By Jarred Hopkins from The Orchard’s Daily Rind
Music ML 2020 marks the second annual hackathon held by Amazon Web Services (AWS), The Orchard, and Sony Music. The Orchard office hosted the New York competition and Sony Music simultaneously hosted in London over the course of three days. The hackathon’s primary purpose is to allow teams of industry professionals to educate, ideate, and create business solutions at the apex of music and machine-learning.
Each team was tasked with creating a proof-of-concept for a new machine-learning solution that would positively impact the business landscape. At The Orchard, teams worked daily to connect fans to songs, albums, and videos from their favorite artists across the globe. The hackathon focused on improving the quality of content releases and making them more discoverable, using machine learning as a toolset to support creative decisions. Delivered in the opening keynote by Jacob Fowler, Chief Technology Officer at The Orchard, the Hackathon challenged competitors to inspire, create, and push the boundaries of innovation.
The UK hackathon’s three teams were comprised of technical staff from Sony Music UK, The Orchard UK, and Solutions Architects from AWS. BRIT-nominated producer DJ Fresh, who also works as a machine-learning engineer, joined UK’s hackathon to lend his expertise. The US event led by Patrick Lizaso, AWS Account Manager, included four teams composed of technical staff from Sony Music NY and The Orchard NY, as well as remote staff across the US, and Solutions Architects from AWS.
On the competition’s final day, the UK teams presented their projects followed by the New York based teams. The UK judging panel included Joe Andrews, Senior Director, International Sales and Marketing, The Orchard UK; Cassandra Gracey, President, 4th Floor Creative Group Sony Music UK; Michael Hanson, Head of Digital, Columbia Records UK; Chris Manning, General Manager, UK & EU, The Orchard UK; and Olivier Parfait, Director, Global Business Development & Digital Strategy, Sony Music UK.
Separately, the US judges included Jacob Fowler, Chief Technology Officer, The Orchard; Rachel Stoewer, Vice President, Artist and Label Services, The Orchard; Devki Patel, Strategy and Finance; and Chris Frankenberg, Vice President of Emerging Technology, Global Digital Business, Sony Music.
The Artwork Generator Team took the winning title of New York’s hackathon. Their business model utilized machine learning tools (Amazon SageMaker) to auto-generate artwork for artist and label merchandising. This innovative design created interesting and creative opportunities for artists and labels to utilize existing content on various platforms.
The winning New York team included The Orchard’s Anthony Khoudary, Jinny Yang, and Peter Iannone, and AWS team members Julia Soscia, Rahul Popat, and Alex Jestin Taylor.
Team 1 took home the UK hackathon’s winning title. Their design trained a machine-learning model to understand and monitor user behaviors and interactions with brands and artists. This concept put a powerful and user-friendly tool in the hands of marketers, empowering them to rapidly create retargeting lists comprised of high-value users. This is particularly valuable for breaking new artists, as the model can identify high-value users with only a small amount of input data. The tool can also be used by sync and brand partnership teams, enabling them to actively pitch brands on potential deals.
The winning UK team included Sony Music UK’s Lewis Donovan, Francesca Lamaina and Josh Rubner, AWS’ Andrew Morrow, and The Orchard’s Dino Celotti.
The hackathon competition closed with award ceremonies and receptions in the Sony Music UK and The Orchard New York offices.