ASCAP Challenge: Music and AI | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

ASCAP Challenge: Music and AI

Exploring the intersection of music & artificial intelligence

ascap lab and NYC Media Lab Music and AI Challenge

2023 ASCAP Challenge

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NYC Media Lab (NYCML) are launching the Music and AI Challenge, which is designed to identify creative, cutting-edge concepts at the intersection of music and artificial intelligence.

Accordingly, the ASCAP Lab and NYCML are seeking startups and university teams that are leveraging artificial intelligence to build products that offer novel solutions for the music industry that ultimately benefit music creators. These innovative approaches might, for example, (1) create pragmatic efficiencies for back-end processes and infrastructure (e.g. pattern recognition, data processing), (2) help music creators complement and augment their creative process (e.g. collaboration tools, novel composition inspirational “seeds” like stems or patterns, production tools), or (3) enhance music experiences for fans (e.g. music discovery, connecting fan communities) and, directly or indirectly, create value for copyright holders. 

It is not necessary for these projects to have been originally developed for the music industry, but in those cases teams should be able to articulate a clear and direct application to music to be explored during the 12-week program. 

This program is oriented around product-building, and therefore each team should be able to clearly articulate a concrete plan to create something new (e.g. a prototype/pilot, a product feature) that can be accomplished by the end of the program.

Register for our virtual info sessions January 18 & 26 to learn more. RSVP


Additional Program Information

Approximately 5 startup and/or university-affiliated teams will be selected for the challenge cohort. Upon selection, each team will be awarded a grant of roughly $5,000. Each selected team will pitch, build, and prototype a product over the course of the 12-week program in close collaboration with the ASCAP Lab and NYCML. In order to facilitate collaboration and mentorship, prototypes must be shareable during video conference sessions. Selected teams may also have the opportunity to engage with, and pitch their products to, ASCAP’s member community.

Teams will meet weekly (typically via video conference) with NYCML and ASCAP Lab team members to present progress and receive feedback in a cohort-based setting. The feedback will focus on experiments and product development in emerging tech, customer discovery, and market validation. The program will conclude with a final presentation and demo day for ASCAP executive leadership as well as others from the wider ASCAP and NYCML communities. 


2023 Program Timeline & Deadlines

  • Info sessions (virtual), we strongly encourage you to attend one of the following info sessions:: 

  • Applications close: Monday, February 6, 2023 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Interviews by invitation only (virtual): February 2023
  • Teams notified: March 2023*
  • Program launch: Thursday, April 6, 2023*
  • Program demo day: Thursday, June 22, 2023*

*dates subject to change


ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service, and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Founded in 1914, ASCAP is home to more than 850,000 music creator members across all genres, representing more than 16 million copyrighted works. As a not-for-profit organization, ASCAP’s mission is to ensure that its music creator and publisher members can thrive alongside the businesses that use their music. 

ASCAP members are the greatest names in American music, past, present, and future — from Billie Eilish to Duke Ellington, Mariah Carey to Jay-Z, Garth Brooks to Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Lion King), Beyoncé to Philip Glass (The Hours, Einstein on the Beach). ASCAP also represents thousands of songwriters and composers in the early stages of their careers, hard-working Americans who rely on their ASCAP royalties as a vital part of their livelihood.

A leader in innovation for both members and licensees, ASCAP uses cutting-edge technology to identify and process trillions of performances of ASCAP music annually. ASCAP has also pioneered the efficient licensing of music to hundreds of thousands of businesses, from restaurants and retail to radio, TV, streaming services, and more.

About ASCAP Lab

In 2019, ASCAP launched the ASCAP Lab to drive innovation for its next century of growth. The multi-pronged effort is designed to explore how advanced technologies, new business approaches, and creative collaborations can drive value for ASCAP music creator members and licensees.

2022 ASCAP Challenge

Demo Day

Music in the Metaverse: 4 Startups Shaping Our New (Extended) Reality

Premiered Wednesday, August 10, 2022 on YouTube as part of the ASCAP Experience. Watch the Video

Project Concept & Background

This challenge sought to explore a range of concepts that demonstrate new ways for artists to create music, connect with their fans, and reimagine how we interact with music and sound in emerging virtual worlds and platforms. We sought ideas that reflect innovative approaches to virtual communities, experiences, and self-expression that reflect imaginative, exploratory, and creative approaches to music in the metaverse. 

The project brought together four startup teams that collectively explored the overarching, speculative question: What’s possible now that wasn’t before?  

The teams succeeded collectively and individually in prototyping what might be possible in the metaverse. MetaCities not only created worlds and experiences but also furthered their desire to see virtual worlds as more diverse, inclusive and democratic. OffBeat contributed to answering the question of finding community inside these worlds, using music as a passport. Popins expanded their recorded holograms into live holograms. And SolTunes found new revenue streams through collaborative composing. The four teams were so synergetic that they continue to work together supporting joint projects.

Mainstream interest and investment in virtual worlds and metaverses have grown exponentially in recent months. As the world embraced virtual/digital experiences during the pandemic, platforms such as Twitch, Fortnite, Decentraland, and Facebook’s Meta reflect emerging capabilities in entertainment, events, and commerce. Subsequently, what was once a relatively niche concept has become increasingly mainstream, with surging interest in metaverse applications for a wide range of industries and experiences.

In response to this emerging opportunity, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NYC Media Lab conducted the Music in the Metaverse Challenge, which was designed to identify creative, cutting-edge concepts at the intersection of music and the metaverse.