North Texas Daily

Students from across metroplex create apps, websites in Hackathon

Students from across metroplex create apps, websites in Hackathon

September 14
20:03 2014

Kaitlyn Stockton / Intern Writer

Students and community members collaborated to create the next phenomenon in the music industry Friday and Saturday in the Innovation Greenhouse’s Music Hackathon.

During the on-campus event in Sycamore Hall, students and community members brainstormed ideas and created products to revolutionize the way the public listens, writes, produces and promotes music. The teams competed against time to complete their projects within 36 hours.

Executive director Nancy J. Hong said the Innovation Greenhouse holds various “hackathons” every few months. Whether the hackathon includes music, data, food or ideas, Hong said the organization helps students grow beyond the classroom.

“Our greenhouse does not grow plants,” she said. “Ours grows ideas. We are creating an opportunity for students to be discovered.”

For the Music Hackathon, four groups of students and community members competed for the $300 grand prize. Participants designed websites, apps and other programs all focused on improving the music industry in some form. By the end of the day, the groups had created business models from a music lesson website to apps that record and mix sounds on the go.

Just Jams, an app that allows users to locate musicians based on their skills, instruments or locations for jam sessions or networking devices, took home the prize. Freelance visual and audio designer A.J. Magallanez, who studies at University of Texas at Dallas, and UNT master’s student Amanda Jones presented the project, which Magallanez had first conceptualized five years ago.

Through the app, musicians can create profiles featuring their tracks, pictures, music videos and an interactive map displaying their general location. While the program allows users to network, it also enables musicians to find venues and band mates – whether for permanent positions or for emergencies. Magallanez said he has been working on starting a company around the idea and had the app drawn up and ready to design going in.

A trumpet, piano and guitar player, Magadallez said he has faced such situations during performances and hopes to alleviate this issue through his app. He said he’d had shows go badly before because someone, sometimes the singer, was missing.

Magallanez said he hopes the app can change the way people view musicians.

“It brings together musicians on a larger scale than the typical cliques and genres that are affiliated with the scenes that are stratified within the music industry,” Magallanez said. “This whole application operates to supplement the need of a revival in the way music is created. When people meet up and create new music, something amazing happens.”

After the success of Just Jam in Dallas, Magallanez said he chose to attend the Music Hackathon to find a team and location that would help him build his application. After winning the Hackathon, Magallanez plans to launch his application in the Denton area.

“This is the first time I have been to Denton in five years,” he said. “Seeing it from this perspective, I understand this would be the greatest spot to launch the app and to see how much service space it will blow up until I move it to Austin. I know it will be a success. It isn’t a matter of if, but when.”

Sophomore business and political science majors Blake Hyman acted as a judge for the Hackathon. A musical artist, pianist and dancer, Hyman brought his experience to the judge panel.

“They all did a fabulous job,” Hyman said. “Some of them showed great creativity. I definitely appreciate that they came up here to showcase their ideas.”

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