In the wake of technology changing the landscape of the music industry, companies are shifting their energy towards more cutting-edge and forward-thinking methods of doing business. Enter Capitol Royale: Capitol Music's Group two-day creativity and innovation marathon (Dec 1-2) at its headquarters in Hollywood, CA. In the company's continued investment in the music and tech space, its Capitol360 hub helped conceive and nurture an idea for Capitol to be one of the first major record labels to host a hackathon and center the challenge around a bevy of panels, performances, exhibitions and more.
Capitol Music Group's COO Michelle Jubelirer made introductory remarks proclaiming, "we're here to build on a historic legacy and invest in our future by breaking boundaries and trailblazing new grounds in music experiences and discovery." She further added to what Capitol has been doing to innovate noting that, "we've launched our Capitol360 innovation center," before adding that, "we continue our work in improving the music/tech startup ecosystem via a launch of an eight-week GBETA music accelerator program via a partnership with nationally ranked accelerator Gener8tor."
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In conjunction with Twitch, the marathon was live-streamed (broadcasted via Cinedigm on its digital-first WHAM network) and ended with four lucky teams competing to win the challenge. Companies like Tempo, presented their ideas to a prolific panel of judges including legendary producer Jimmy Jam and a representative from the Marcy Venture Partners, the venture fund Jay-Z, Jay Brown, and Larry Marcus co-founded. In addition, Spotify supported the event as well as Roland who sponsored a one-hour song challenge for creators to come up with a song quickly and submit to judges.
Aside from Capitol lending hackers access to its catalog of streaming tracks and content and mentorship from leaders in the industry, other companies participated in sponsoring API for the hackathon: Verizon, Cloudinary, ConsenSys, Havas, LyricFind, Qloo, TiVo, 7digital, Unity, and Roland were among the participants. Verizon partnered with Motown recording artist James Davis to envision what the future of music video creation and consumption would look like. Participants in this program spent two days before the hackathon in Verizon RYOT, an immersive and interactive entertainment studio looking into new technology like augmented reality and how it will play into the innovation of the industry. Aside from partnering with Verizon, James Davis also hit the stage with Njomza also performing.
Speakers and judges who participated in the weekend included Romain Reveillere (Havas/Station F), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory), Tipatat Chennavasin (VR Fund), Marc Byers (Motown), Rishi Patel (Plus 8 Equity), Daniel Miller (Unity), Larry Marcus (Walden & Marcy Venture Partners), and Bill Gagnon (Universal Music Group).
Gener8tor hosted a startup garden where founders got one-on-one time with venture capitalists and innovation executives as well as later engaging with some of the attendees. One standout startup in particular was Beat Box, an inexpensive drum machine crafted mostly with cardboard that will be set at a price point much lower than the typical drum machine that goes for hundreds of dollars. One of Capitol's partners, Ujo, also was in the garden telling patrons about their blockchain-based platform to get rights owners paid for their works.
One of the biggest highlights of the night was famed video gamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins playing Fornite live and being joined by guests such as Lil Yachty, Lost Kings and Justin Caruso. In addition, he threw a party at the end to commemorate the release of his EDM compilation album (releasing Dec 14), Ninjawerks Volume 1 in partnership with Capitol. ZAXX, CRAY, Justin Caruso, GTA, Tycho, and 3LAU all served as resident DJs for the night.