Sony Music and The Orchard held a machine-learning hackathon

Sony Music, The Orchard and Amazon Web Services held “Music ML 2020”, the second annual machine-learning focused hackathon last week. The Orchard office hosted the New York competition and Sony Music simultaneously hosted in London over the course of three days.

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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. The opening keynote by Jacob Fowler, Chief Technology Officer at The Orchard, challenged competitors to inspire, create, and push the boundaries of innovation.

Each team was tasked with creating a proof-of-concept for a new machine-learning solution that would positively impact the business. At The Orchard, teams worked daily to connect fans to songs, albums, and videos from their favourite artists across the globe. In each location the teams were comprised of technical staff from Sony Music, The Orchard UK, and solutions architects from AWS. BRIT-nominated producer DJ Fresh, who also works as a machine-learning engineer, joined the British hackathon to lend his expertise.

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Lewis Donovan, lead web developer & Music ML project lead for Sony Music UK, said: “After three intense days in London the teams produced a tool that analyses data to inform A&R decisions, a spike analysis tool and an artist/brand/user affinity tool. Achieving this is just three days, by teams with varying degrees of coding experience illustrates the energy, creativity and ambition for innovation here. Every participant in the UK event had the opportunity to collaborate with new people, learn new skills, and help create a new business application using machine-learning.”

This is particularly valuable for breaking new artists, as the model can identify high-value users with only a small amount of input data.

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