Two HLS students, Adam Gottesfeld ‘12 and Joey Seiler ‘12, recently won Rethink Music’s Genesis Project, a startup competition that aims to encourage and support creativity in the music industry. The duo will receive $10,000 in legal services from the firm Duane Morris, additional in-kind consulting and at least three meetings with venture capitalists.
Their project, Have You Heard?, utilizes data available on music-streaming platforms such as Spotify and Grooveshark to make music listening and sharing more rewarding for fans and more lucrative for artists. It includes online mechanisms to bridge relationships between artists and fans. Users are awarded points each time they listen to or share the music of their favorite artists. When users reach a certain level of points, they receive a reward, which could range from discounted music or concert tickets to a special recording from the artist or backstage passes.
Gottesfeld and Seiler received the award in April during the Rethink Music conference, organized by Berklee College of Music and midem (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale, a music industry trade fair), in association with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The conference is designed to bring music stakeholders together to discuss business models for the future, examine copyright challenges in the digital era, and analyze technological innovation in music and its distribution.
Several HLS faculty and students participated in the conference. Professor Yochai Benkler ’94, faculty co-director of the Berkman Center, presented on finding alternative payment models. Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic assistant director Christopher Bavitz moderated the panel “Ease of Use: Registry Databases,“which focused on the trials and tribulations of creating a global database of copyright owners to add transparency to the licensing process. (Read coverage of the topic in the April 23, 2012 issue of the Boston Phoenix, “The biggest problem of music.”) Also participating was Erin McKeown, a 2011-2012 Fellow at the Berkman Center, who spoke on a panel titled “Finding a Future in the Clouds.”