Mixathon 48 brings hackathon culture to music production

September 28, 2015

Here at Wearhaus, we value innovation in music and tech. So when Nicholas Yiu came to us with a brand new take on music producing, we were all ears. Yiu and his team created Mixathon48, an incredible, online hackathon weekend for music creators and we were lucky to be a part of the process. Learn more about the contest in Yiu’s guest post….


A new type of music education

I sat at my desk looking at dozens of music education programs on my laptop. They all seemed uninteresting to me – courses were expensive and traditional, contests were too mainstream and not creative. Having spent the last four years of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was no stranger to the hackathon scene. The competition structure had proven to be a successful model to push hardware and computer engineers to create innovative, groundbreaking products. Why not do the same for the music industry?

So we made our own music hackathon, and we named it Mixathon48.

I quickly assembled my dream team at UC Berkeley: Matt Hong, a talented website developer and budding music producer, and Nickki Nguyen, an artistic graphic designer and coffee aficionado. Together, we put together the world’s first 48-hour music production marathon. The contest was centered around five underlying 4-bar stems which participants had to use. This ensured the track was made in 48 hours and also followed the overarching theme of the contest. In less than one month, we received 135 applications from 34 countries and $2000 worth of sponsorships and prizes from awesome companies like Wearhaus, Ableton, Firespace Recordings and FullDive.

We envisioned this project to be conducive of a collaborative music community where music ideas are critiqued and shared together. Musicians could meet other musicians, like a Craigslist for music producers. Wearhaus embodies this philosophy of a community and as the pioneer in music sharing technology in San Francisco and beyond, and we were so excited that they became one of the main sponsors for our event.

Producers interpreted our stems differently, with submissions ranging from progressive house music to orchestral movie soundtracks. Listen to the submissions here! As the event took place, I received emails from participants saying how much fun this idea was, how much they were learning about music production and composition and even responses saying they were having an ‘out of this world’ experience. After Mixathon48, we asked participants to fill out a post-event survey and we received a whopping 100% (35 out of 35) positive review. Every single person said they wanted to do this again.

People loved it. So what now?

As we continue to build our community, we hope to grow Mixathon48 into an educational platform where music producers can come together and share ideas and create music. To help develop creative ideas and push their artistic development to new limits, we are releasing unique time-constrained music production competitions on a regular basis to push the boundaries of creativity. We plan to take musicians from the conception stage all the way to a finished musical product. Our mission is to inspire and support careers in music.

I’ve been in the music industry for over two years now and I have seen how excited producers get when they learn a new production technique, hear an unusual chord that works unexpectedly well or receive positive feedback from a fellow producer. I only want to see more of this, so maybe it’s time for a new type of music education.


Want more information on Mixathon48? Visit their official website and like their Facebook page.

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