Rethink Music Announces Startup Competition Winner

Nick Balkin
April 25, 2012
From left: Genesis Project startup competition winners Adam Gottesfeld and Joey Seiler, cofounders of Have You Heard?; Allen Bargfrede, executive director, Rethink Music; Christopher Bavitz, assistant director, Harvard's Berkman Center.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

This week, Boston's Hynes Convention Center played host to the second Rethink Music conference, presented by Berklee College of Music and midem, in association with Harvard's Berkman Center. The conference brought together more than 500 attendees—including creators, industry experts, policymakers, and academics— for high-level deliberation seeking and developing solutions for the unpredictable trajectory of the music industry.

As part of Rethink Music, Berklee and Babson College organized a music industry startup competition, the Genesis Project, which sought proposals for businesses, applications, or models offering new or improved ways to encourage and monetize creativity in the music industry. The proposals were judged on their potential to become the basis of a viable venture or business idea. The judges narrowed the field down to three finalists who presented their plans at Rethink Music on April 24. Have You Heard? was named the winner of the Genesis Project at the close of the conference. 

Have You Heard?, a Cambridge-based company cofounded by Harvard Law School students Joey Seiler and Adam Gottesfeld, was awarded $10,000 in legal services from Duane Morris, additional in-kind consulting services, and at least three meetings with venture capitalists. 

Have You Heard? leverages data available on music-streaming platforms like Spotify to make music listening and sharing more rewarding for fans and, in turn, more lucrative for artists and brands. It combines the classic street team promotional model with online games to bridge relationships between artists and fans. Users are awarded points each time they listen to or share the music of their favorite artists. When the user reaches a certain level of points, they are awarded an interaction with the artist, which could range from discounted music or concert tickets to a special recording from the artist or backstage passes.