ASCAP Lab Seed Project Teams Explore Boundaries of Music Creation and Experience: Two Finalists to Present at New York City Media Lab Summit on Oct. 8

October 6, 2020

Grammy-Winning Living Colour Guitarist and Songwriter Vernon Reid Joins The ASCAP Lab as Artist in Residence and in Conversation at NYCML Summit on Oct. 9


Upcoming ASCAP Lab Speaker Series Features Artificial Intelligence Expert Hod Lipson


NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2020 -- The ASCAP Lab, the innovation initiative of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, is gathering momentum. In addition to revealing the finalists from its NYC Media Lab Seed Project, the group announces the first ASCAP songwriter member to join The ASCAP Lab as Artist in Residence, and details several upcoming virtual speaking engagements. 


ASCAP Lab Seed Project

Together with New York City Media Lab (NYCML), The ASCAP Lab sponsored an 11-week open university challenge for graduate students and faculty in creative tech, music, design and technology. Five selected teams, all from NYU, engaged in early-stage R&D to explore new ways to create and experience music using emerging technologies such as spatial audio, computer vision and machine learning tools for object detection. Two of these teams, CHILLER and MADD by Team MiDi, will present their prototypes on Oct. 8 at this week’s New York City Media Lab Summit. NYCML is a public/private partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation that connects media and technology companies with New York City’s universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and talent development.


CHILLER developed a tiny device that adds another dimension to the experience of music. Based on the small, low-cost Raspberry Pi computer, their Computer Human Interface for Live Labeling of Emotional Responses (CHILLER) can read the body’s physical and emotional reactions to music (e.g. goosebumps), converting them into data that can then be leveraged in a multitude of ways by emerging technologies. LEDs light up when emotional reactions are detected and provide a new way for performers and audiences to interact, whether the performance is virtual, recorded or live in the same room.


Using the 30-year-old keyboard-based MIDI input as a starting point, MADD by Team MiDi created a revolutionary new device for audio sampling and editing that features a 21st-century, user-friendly interface powered by a sensor that the team built from scratch. Compared with traditional keypad interfaces, the soft-surface sensor captures nuances in a user's touch, allowing for increased expressiveness and customization of sound.


“Collaborating with these five incredible university teams and seeing them apply their imagination and ingenuity to the ASCAP Lab Seed Project has been inspiring,” said Nick Lehman, ASCAP Chief Strategy and Digital Officer. “We’re excited to nurture this type of emerging talent who will push the envelope of music creation tools and experiences to benefit ASCAP members and drive innovation in the music industry. We want to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who participated and to the NYC Media Lab for their partnership.”


A highlight video on all the ASCAP Lab seed project teams is available at More information on the NYCML Summit is at


Living Colour’s Vernon Reid Joins as Artist in Residence

The ASCAP Lab, which guides ASCAP’s explorations of new technologies, business approaches and creative collaborations, welcomes Grammy-winning guitarist and songwriter Vernon Reid to the group as Artist in Residence. Reid is a solo artist and lead guitarist for renowned rock group Living Colour, who debuted to massive critical acclaim in 1988 with the album Vivid, including the Grammy-winning hit “Cult of Personality.” The group would go on to release Time’s Up (1990) and Stain (1993) before temporarily disbanding in 1995. Reid released his first solo record in 1996, Mistaken Identity, and has gone on to record and release albums with a variety of collaborators including DJ Logic and Masque. He is an active session artist and producer, including work on two Grammy-nominated albums: Papa (1999) by the African vocalist Salif Keita and Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001) by guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer. Reid continues to record and tour with Living Colour and appears on Bruce Hornsby’s latest album, Non-Secure Connection.


Reid will appear at the NYCML Summit on Friday, Oct. 9 in a keynote conversation with Brooke Eplee of The ASCAP Lab and finalists from The ASCAP Lab Seed Project. The panel, “A Musician’s Perspective on Innovation and its Role in the Creative Process,” will explore what’s next in technology and music creation and experience.


ASCAP Lab Speaker Series

On October 15, ASCAP Lab will present “Can We Learn to Stop Worrying and Love AI?,” a virtual session with Hod Lipson, artificial intelligence expert and Professor of Engineering and Data Science at Columbia University. Lipson will explain why, with a combination of increased investment, computing speed and more, we will soon enter an era of AI “chaos and amazement,” and how this could affect the future of music. Registration for the virtual session, which is open to ASCAP members, is available at


Lipson is the second in a series of speakers presented by ASCAP Lab. Previously, ASCAP Lab hosted Daniel Belquer, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist of Music: Not Impossible, which is a wearable technology inspired by the deaf community that translates sound onto the skin through vibration to provide all users a unique and nuanced music experience.


For more information on The ASCAP Lab, visit


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 825,000 members representing more than 16 million copyrighted works, 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. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Cathy Halgas Nevins | ASCAP

cnevins (at)