Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

Music science: How data is changing what we listen to

Moderated by:
Sean Power (Watching Websites)
Joy Johnson (AudioCommon), Mike Rosenthal (Mick Management), Rishi Malhotra (Saavn)
4:35pm–5:15pm Wednesday, 09/30/2015
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 2 ratings)

The convergence of digital music, streaming services, and big data have created a new discipline: Music Science. Digital downloads and monthly subscriptions have all but replaced the physical distribution of music, leaving labels scrambling and artists adapting to a new world.

Music science is about prediction—what song you want next; what the next big hit will be; what that can’t-ignore track is called; how to split, share, and remix songs across platforms. It’s about business—with billions of venture investment and industry-changing acquisitions happening every month. And most importantly—it’s a canary in the big data coal mine, because the tools and strategies that shape digital music will soon apply to every consumer service and every disrupted market.

This panel brings together founders and technologists who live on the cutting edge of music science. We’ll look at the “Turing problems” of digital entertainment, as well as how providers strike a balance between human curation and machine optimization.

Photo of Sean Power

Sean Power

Watching Websites

Sean Power is a consultant, analyst, author, and speaker. He is the co-founder of Watching Websites, a boutique consulting firm focusing on early stage startups, products, and non-profits as they emerge and mature in their niches. He has built professional services organizations, and traveled across North America delivering engagements to Fortune 1000 companies. He helps executives understand their competitive landscape and the future of their industry. He has done technical editing for Troubleshooting Linux Firewall for Addison-Wesley, and co-authored Complete Web Monitoring with Alistair Croll for O’Reilly Media.

Sean has had first-hand experience creating and implemented social computing strategies with larger companies like MTV and smaller startups like Akoha. He is active in the social computing space, using Twitter and blogs as his communication platforms of choice. He often speaks on the subject of product acceleration, measurement, or social computing in clinics, workshops, presentations, and one-on-one training.

Photo of Joy Johnson

Joy Johnson


Joy Johnson leads mobile at music technology startup AudioCommon, a team of MIT musicians and PhD hackers revolutionizing the way music is created, organized, and shared in today’s interconnected world. Through AudioCommon’s cloud-based collaboration platform, musicians and the greater industry can collaborate in new ways during the very early stages of the creative process (capturing data that has never been captured before) and share a new type of content to engage fans with a new interactive experience, giving artists a new way to monetize and thrive in today’s Industry.

Joy is a recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. When she’s not coding or doing research, you’ll probably find Joy at a concert or rocking out on a running trail.

Photo of Mike Rosenthal

Mike Rosenthal

Mick Management

Mike Rosenthal spent the last six years overseeing brand partnerships and digital strategy for the band OK Go before joining Mick Management in 2015. In his role as head of strategic marketing at Mick, Mike works with a roster of artists including Walk the Moon, Of Monsters and Men, Leon Bridges, and Childish Gambino in developing new approaches to artist development and partnership strategy.

Photo of Rishi Malhotra

Rishi Malhotra


Rishi Malhotra is co-founder and CEO of Saavn, India’s leading music streaming service. As CEO, Rishi has led the company through significant and rapid user growth, while helping to secure partnerships with companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Shazam, T-Mobile, and Sonos. He is focused on driving the global Saavn team to deliver award-winning mobile products, big data systems for media, and industry-defining business innovation. Saavn is on path to become one of the largest streaming music companies in the world by 2017. Rishi has led the team in raising more than $125MM in funding from leading institutional investors, including Tiger Global Management, Bertelsmann India Investments, Liberty Media, Steadview Capital, Mousse Partners, Quilvest, and others.

Previously, Rishi was VP, HBO On Demand and Multi-Platform for Home Box Office, Inc., where he pioneered HBO’s SVOD products, digital distribution, and original VOD content for many HBO franchises, including Big Love, The Wire, and HBO Sports. Rishi’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, and Forbes. He’s been a speaker at Goldman Sachs Internet Conference, MIDEM, CES, Digital Hollywood, and served as chairman of The Future TV Conference in 2009. Rishi graduated from Washington University and currently splits his time between New York City and Mumbai.