Marko Ahtisaari, CEO and Co-Founder of Sync Project will be speaking at both Slush and Slush Music. We had a chat with him to introduce his colourful profile, working with music, copyrights, wellbeing and design.
Ahtisaari’s company Sync Project is out to discover exactly how music affects our minds and bodies, and to harness that knowledge in new life and health-enhancing ways. If you’re reading this and you’re one of the over 2000 startups coming to Slush, you can preview Sync Music Bot for Slack, a chatbot that delivers music specially-tuned to help your work, relax, and exercise better.
Sync Project is a part of Open Music Initiative, an initiative where the use of blockchain has been brought to music industry from the world of cryptocurrency where it originally sparked from.
Open Music Initiative consists of a group of companies that have come together to build a distributed, decentralized database of music rights. The goal is to make music industry more transparent and make sure musicians and creators of music are fairly compensated. In order to achieve this goal OMI uses blockchain-model. One of the interesting topics Ahtisaari will be discussing at Slush Music is the impact of blockchains to the music industry.
There have been several attempts to build an effective music rights registry before – but all of the attempts have failed. Ahtisaari is excited for Sync Project to be a part of Open Music Initiative, as he trusts that this time it will all come together. “These attempts before have typically stalled because of an attempt to centralize or control the data too much,” Ahtisaari explains. Open-source protocol created by the use of blockchain enables the data not to be owned by single entity, but taken care of by everyone. “We want all the data to come together, to live together, to work together, and that’s what different this time.”
Ahtisaari explains that technology and streaming services has made it even tougher to make sure the compensations are paid for musicians, so even if the will to pay would be there, that might not be enough. Ahtisaari points out that “when you stream a track, the right person might not get paid because the people in the chain don’t know who to pay; this happens 20–40 % of the time.” The complexity of music industry is what makes it a real challenge; a song today might have over 20 contributors, so it is no wonder we don’t know who to pay. On the other hand, artists might not even know when their music is played or how revenue is shared.
With the Sync Project, Marko Ahtisaari is working to discover the health benefits of music. Ahtisaari explains that the Sync Project originated from genuine interest towards music, health and combining these two into a factor that will have a positive effect in people’s lives. Ahtisaari points out that “there’s strong scientific evidence that’s grown over the last years about the health effects of music, research has shown that music activates the same neural pathways that pharmaceutical drugs do.” The aim of Sync Project is to develop these studies by large data collection and more focused clinical studies. “How could it be we never did this before?” Ahtisaari asks, “all we thought is that you can take a pill.”
Beside the long-term focus in developing music into a precision medicine, Sync Project is driving the change in the way we think of music in our everyday lives. With the right kind of playlist you can train more effectively, sleep better, unwind quicker and work more productively; maximise everything you do. The key here is the right kind of music for the right context; which tunes get us more engaged with our performance, and which ones get us only distracted.
Marko Ahtisaari will be diving more into the fascinating world of blockchain in the panel discussion “Blockchain – Music and Next steps” at Slush Music with Allen Bargfrede from Rethink Music, Turo Pekari from the Finnish composer’s copyright society Teosto and Bruno Guez from Revelator. Ahtisaari will also be joining panel discussion “Why is Design moving over to the C-suite?” at the Slush main event with Anne Stenroos from the City of Helsinki, Olof Schybergson from Fjord and Karri Saarinen from Airbnb.
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