On 24 March 2014, 21 people came together at Microsoft Research New England for a symposium called “What Is Music Technology For?” held just after the first Music Tech Fest in North America. Those at the symposium were motivated by a passion for music, a fascination with technology and culture, and a concern for how music technology is now developing. Recognizing the fertility of music technology as a subject that bridges computational, scientific, social scientific and humanistic approaches, we looked for common ground across those fields. We debated and developed a set of shared principles about the future of music technology.

Built from the notes of that day’s event, and revised together in the weeks that followed, this manifesto is the collaboratively-authored product of this meeting.

The symposium was organized by Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research, and Jonathan Sterne, McGill University. The participants also included:

Georgina Born, University of Oxford
Andrew Dubber, Birmingham City University
Blake Durham, University of Oxford
Tarleton Gillespie, Cornell University
Mack Hagood, Miami University
Jessa Lingel, Microsoft Research
Deirdre Loughridge, University of California – Berkeley
Josh McDermott, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michela Magas, Stromatolite, Founder Music Tech Fest
Jeremy Morris, University of Wisconsin
Bryan Pardo, Northwestern University.
Trevor Pinch, Cornell University
Norbert Schnell, Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique
Nick Seaver, University of California – Irvine
Victoria Simon, McGill University
Aram Sinnreich, Rutgers University
Matt Stahl, University of Western Ontario
Aaron Trammell, Rutgers University

Annette Markham, Aarhus University, graciously served as facilitator and we thank her profusely for her work.

We are also deeply grateful to Microsoft Research, in particular Jennifer Chayes and Christian Borgs, for sponsoring the event, and Lauren Edwards for managing the many logistical details.


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