1. About

    Monthly Music Hackathon NYC is a monthly all-day event for musicians and engineers to create new music-related projects from scratch, develop them throughout ~10 hours, then perform or present them in a concert in the evening.

    For info on upcoming events:


    Who should go to the concert?

    Everyone is welcome.  Expect a crazy frenzy of experimentation.

    Who should go to build a hack?

    Anyone who wants to make something related to music.

    Musicians with little experience with hands on technology who want to meet and collaborate with techies, and have the experience of working through new ideas quickly and practicing finishing projects.

    Musicians who use technology to make their art.

    Programmers, engineers, and scientists with an interest in any aspect of music.

    What can I make?

    Wiktionary gives one definition of hack as “To work on an intimately technical level”  (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hack).  An appropriate hack at this event would work on an intimately technical level with any subject surrounding music, such as making sound, making instruments, making compositions, analysis of a piece of music, analysis of a music collection, analysis of music listening data, making music presentation platforms, making music sharing apps, making music sales apps, etc, etc, etc…

    What can’t I make?

    Anything that makes a mess.  Sorry, our space is not equipped for luthiering.

    While the presentation of your project can and should make sounds, while you’re creating it you will be surrounded by others trying to work on their own project, so please keep the noise making quiet and/or intermittent.

    Do I need to know a programming language?

    No, there are no expectations about participants’ skills or goals at Monthly Music Hackathon NYC. It is essentially a totally free-form event: Work on your own, come with a group, or meet people when you arrive. Come with an idea you have in advance, come up with something the day-of, or work with people you meet to come up with an idea. The end result could be art, research results, a musical instrument, a commercial product, tools for artists or developers, or anything else related to music in whatever way you imagine.

    How many projects are there?  Do I have to collaborate?

    It’s up to you whether you work on your own project, come with collaborators to work with, find collaborators beforehand via the mailing list or Twitter or Hacker League, or hope to meet collaborators in person at the hackathon.  You can post a project idea and/or skills you bring to the table on Hacker League if you want.

    We will, however, all collaborate at the end of the day on crafting the flow of the concert/presentations.

    Do I have to present my work?


    What can I present at the concert?

    You can perform music or tell people about what you made.

    What equipment will there be for the concert/presentation?

    Electricity.  A small PA system.  A projector.  A stage-ish area about 10x10 feet.

    Are there prizes or a competition or voting?


    When does it happen?

    Usually the last Saturday of every month from either 10 AM or Noon till ~10 PM. Sometimes we have talks or other events the night before, and sometimes we bleed into Sunday. Stay tuned to the mailing list for details, or check our blog.

    Where does it happen?

    It’s in a different place in New York City each month. Stay tuned to the mailing list for announcements.

    Why are you doing this?

    Anyone who’s attended any of the awesome Music Hackdays (http://musichackday.org) knows they are super fun events.  But they are infrequent.  There have been other music-focused hackathons in New York since then, but they tend to be geared toward the music industry, advertising, and recruiting.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but it seems like there is a desire in the NYC music tech community to have these events more often, focus more on creativity, and make artists feel welcome.

    For me personally, I have a ton of music tech projects on the back burner that I don’t get a chance to work on.  Blocking off an entire day once a month to focus on these projects will encourage habits of creativity and productivity.

    The ideas from the tech startup world of rapid prototyping, iteration, and completion can be extremely helpful for artists.  This will be a venue dedicated to practicing those techniques.

    Who are the sponsors?

    We’re trying to be as free from sponsorships as possible, in order for the nature of the event to be guided as much as possible by its participants.  However, we’ve had sponsorships from 10gen, MailChimp, Slader, exfm, Ace Hotel, Etsy, Control Group, Arup, Two Boots Pizza, and others.

    Are you looking for sponsors?

    Yes, we need money to pay for food, invited speakers and performers, venues, and audio and electronics equipment. However, we don’t have API talks and we keep the swag to a minimum.

    Do you need volunteers?

    Yes!  Please let us know if you want to help set up, clean up, carry food in or out, stand at the door to guide people in, run the mixing board, etc.

    Do you need folding tables, a PA system and food for ~50 people?

    Wow, it’s amazing that you asked that because we do in fact need all of those things!

    For more info, contact:

    Jonathan Marmor

    Significant guidance on the planning of this event was provided by Jessica Thompson, Trevor Knight (both of whom organized the amazing http://montrealmusi.tk/ hackathon), Ari Russo, and the staff of exfm: Dan Kantor, Marshall Jones, Lucas Hrabovsky, Kirk Love, Jessica Page, and Joe Kanakaraj.