MIT, NYU, P2P U Group Students by Music Taste

October 28, 2013

MIT Media Lab and NYU are using The Echo Nest’s deep musical understanding in a whole new way: to introduce students in a free online music-making course to other like-minded participants.

Play With Your Music (a joint offering from NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, MIT Media Lab, and Peer 2 Peer University) is a free six-week online course that promises to teach anyone how to mix music by mastering the basics of studio engineering. As one might expect, lots of people might sign up for a free program like that (the class starts November 1, with sign-up still available).

Students, well over a thousand of whom have already registered, will be split into mini-classes of 30-40 people, with whom they will communicate via Google+ and email, and use web-based tools (including The Infinite Jukebox) for all of the audio engineering too. Participants will be learning how to mix various songs together, so it makes sense to group them by taste. That way, the people making salsa music, death metal, upbeat ambient grooves, and so on will be able to indulge their taste with like-minded classmates.

They’re asking each participant for their five favorite bands — then, they’re using The Echo Nest’s deep musical intelligence to map the relationships between those artists to divide the students into groups based on their taste in music.

"From a learning perspective, it’s pretty neat — it means you’ll be making music with folks who are already into what you are into," said P2PU learning lead Vanessa Gennarelli. "We’re pretty certain that will lead to better retention and stronger engagement."

We’re happy to see The Echo Nest’s understanding of music being used to bring people together in this new way. You can read more about the class on LifeHacker’s post.

To sign up to mix and share 3-5 songs in six weeks for free — or if you know someone who might be interested — you can enter your email address on PlayWithYourMusic.org. The class starts this Friday, November 1, 2013.