NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Challenge | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Challenge

2024: AI and the Business of Music


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NYC Media Lab (NYCML) are launching the 2024 ASCAP Challenge: AI and the Business of Music.

2024 Challenge

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NYC Media Lab (NYCML) are launching the 2024 ASCAP Challenge: AI and the Business of Music.

Accordingly, the ASCAP Lab and NYCML are seeking startups and university teams that are leveraging artificial intelligence to revolutionize the business of music. We are looking for innovative products that positively impact music industry creators and professionals – from writers and composers to publishers and lyricists – by offering AI-driven solutions that can transform music industry workflows, business processes and data exchanges. Examples include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Enhanced marketing strategies, community-building and distribution tools
  • Infrastructure applications that streamline industry operations and data
  • Innovative approaches to tackle industry-wide challenges such as data fraud
  • Efficient payment solutions tailored for the music industry
  • Business tools that aid music creators in their entrepreneurial endeavors

We welcome applications from teams working on products that were not originally developed for the music industry; we just ask that in those cases, teams articulate why they believe there is an opportunity for the music community worth exploring as well as a clear and direct application of their product for music creators and professionals that will be explored during the 12-week program. 

This program is oriented around accomplishing a new, concrete goal during the 12 weeks (e.g., a prototype/pilot, a new product feature, demonstrating product/market fit, etc.). Therefore, each team should be able to clearly articulate in the application what that goal is as well as a specific plan for how to achieve it by the end of the program.

Register for one of our online info sessions (Mar. 28 or Apr. 10) to learn more.

Additional Program Information

Approximately 4 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 work on their product and specific goal over the course of the 12-week program in close collaboration with the ASCAP Lab and NYCML. Team members participating in the cohort will meet weekly (typically via video conference) for 90 minutes with NYCML and ASCAP Lab team members to present progress and receive feedback in a cohort-based setting. Selected teams will have the unique opportunity to be mentored by music industry and subject matter experts. In order to facilitate collaboration and mentorship, weekly progress updates and product demonstrations must be shareable during video conference sessions. Cohort teams may also have the opportunity to engage with, and receive feedback about their products from, ASCAP’s songwriter and publisher member community and senior leadership.


2024 Program Timeline & Deadlines

Info sessions (online)

We strongly encourage you to attend one of the following info sessions:

  • Thursday, March 28, 2024 at 12pm ET
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 12pm ET

Register for a free online info session

Applications close: Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 11:59 pm ET

Interviews by invitation only (online): Week of April 29, 2024*

Please note: the team members listed on your application as participating in the cohort are expected to be present for your interview.

Teams notified: by May 31, 2024*

Program launch: Thursday, June 20, 2024*

*dates subject to change

If you have any questions, please email



Previous Challenges

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NYC Media
Lab (NYCML) conducted the Music and AI Challenge in 2023. Five start up and
university-affiliated teams leveraged artificial intelligence to build products that offer
novel solutions for the music industry that ultimately benefit music creators. Participating

DAACI is a comprehensive AI system that composes, arranges, orchestrates and
produces authentic, high-quality and original music with emotional and narrative
awareness , especially for composers for video games , the metaverse, digital worlds and
dynamic virtual experiences.

Infinite Album uses AI to generate continuous copyright-safe video game music that
can react to game play in real time and can be customized by gamers and viewers in
collaborative, interactive and monetizable ways.

Overture Games builds video games for beginner musicians designed to make
practicing more fun and reduce burnout/quitting by using AI-based pitch detection to
provide responsive visual feedback based on the musician’s playing.

Samplifi combines classical digital signal processing techniques with the latest
advances in AI to isolate and enhance the auditory information needed to harmonically
orient oneself within a piece of music, making the sonic world easier to navigate for
hearing-impaired musicians.

Sounds.Studio by Never Before Heard Sounds is a browser-based music production
platform that leverages AI to make producing music faster and more accessible with
assistive tools like stem splitting, vocal conversion, timbre transfer and automatic song

The five teams met with ASCAP and NYCML mentors weekly to advance their ideas, as
well as heard from guest speakers throughout the program. Teams also had additional
one-on-one sessions with ASCAP leadership and ASCAP members who helped refine
the teams’ offerings.

A short documentary recounting the Challenge will premiere on March 20, 2024.

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.


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 975,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, and represents some of the world’s most talented music creators. In 2023, ASCAP reported record-high financial results of $1.737 billion in revenues and $1.592 billion available in royalty distribution monies to its members. Over the last eight years, ASCAP has delivered a 7% compound annual growth rate for total revenues, and an 8% compound annual growth rate for total royalty distributions to members. Founded and governed by songwriters, composers and publishers, it is the only performing rights organization in the U.S. that operates on a not-for-profit basis. ASCAP licenses a repertory of over 19 million musical works to hundreds of thousands of businesses that use music, including streaming services, cable television, radio and satellite radio and brick and mortar businesses such as retail stores, hotels, clubs, restaurants and bars. ASCAP collects the licensing fees; identifies, matches and processes trillions of performances every year; and returns nearly 90 cents of every dollar back to its members as royalties. The ASCAP blanket license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. ASCAP puts music creators first, advocating for their rights and the value of music on Capitol Hill, driving innovation that moves the industry forward, building community and providing the resources and support that creators need to succeed in their careers. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

About the 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.