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Transforming the Music Industry: Engineering Team Selected as Finalist for Music-Focused Blockchain Competition

After taking home top honors at the Second Annual College of Engineering Senior Design Expo for their project titled “Sonically Based Music Recommendation System” (Sonify), Michael Castellanos, BSEE ’18, Michael Batey, BSCpE ’18, Tristan Blarel, BSCpE ’18, and Oren Andiroglu BSCpE ’20 have been selected as finalists for the 2018 Smackathon – Blockchain Music Challenge. The competition included teams from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Singapore, Turkey and the United States. The team has a month to develop and deliver a working prototype to a panel judges on July 23. The winning team will earn $6,000, plus the chance to secure investment to continue developing the project.

Sonify is a decentralized music streaming service, utilizing blockchain digital technology to fully automate transactions with artist records and remove any middleman services. The program also makes use of the Interplanetary File Storage System (IPFS), which is a distributed file storage system that allows for cheaper costs. After each upload, a song is processed and retains a set of attributes for recommendations through deep learning technology. This past April, Sonify received both the Industry Impact Award and the Overall Best Senior Design Project Award at the University of Miami College of Engineering’s 2018 Senior Design Expo

Grammy award-winning artist and serial entrepreneur Armando “Pitbull” Perez partnered up with eMerge Americas, and Zeppelin to design a competition to disrupt the current state of the music industry, bridging blockchain and music together.

Named after the popular computer programming event hackathon, Smackathon allows participants from around the world to use Ethereum, a decentralized platform powered by digital technology on which developers build applications, as they look for innovative ideas to take on music’s biggest challenges, ranging from artist royalty agreements to curated playlists.

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