The #MusicBricks project is rooted in enabling progression from (technology readiness level) TRL4 to TRL7 and beyond through innovation and active creative communities engagement.

The starting point of the project is to port tools and data made available through academic research from TRL4 to TRL5. This is followed by three TRL Pilots which ensure relevant validation, demonstration and prototyping:

  • Step 1 ports TRL4 to TRL5 by wrapping and making the tools available (APIs, GUIs and TUIs) and ensures market readiness at the level of TRL5 (industrially) relevant environment [WP3 & WP4]
  • Step 2 executes TRL5 and TRL6 through active deployment within the creative developer and content creator community [WP5]
  • Step 3 supports TRL6 to TRL7 by incubation of product, service, creation and performance ideas and ensures market readiness at the level of TRL7 operational environment [WP6]
  • Step 4 facilitates market testbeds beyond TRL7 by exposing and connecting directly with big industry players and investors, thus making TRL8 & TRL9 a possibility [WP7]

This 4-step process closes the current gaps in the music technology value chain and creates a seamless transfer of knowledge and technology with a built-in feedback loop that enables more robust iteration of the applications and services, which can be used to guide and develop future research as well as teaching and knowledge exchange activities.

The motivation for focusing on TRL4-7:
When considering the 9 Technology Readiness Levels it is worth noting that this model is particularly suited to its original context, as developed by NASA in the 1980s. NASA projects bear an extremely high level of risk. They deploy extremely expensive technologies, tested by very few people. In order for NASA technologies to be deployable, they absolutely require TRL9. In the music technology domain, a huge success like the SoundCloud platform can be deployed at TRL3. It is extremely low on risk, cheap to run, easy to understand and can get millions of early adopters, even as an experimental proof-of-concept.

For a potential investor, a large number of early adopters, and the related substantial datasets, have often proven to be sufficient incentives for investment and acquisition in early stages of development (TRL3 to TRL7). In the music technology sector therefore, the market is extremely agile, with development of applications being cheap and typically low risk, and great potential of investment and acquisitions through clearly demonstrable social and economic benefits in early stages.

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The high-risk, high-cost, late-engagement, low yield-to-cost ratio NASA TRL model versus the typical low-risk, low-cost, early deployment and engagement, high data yield ratio of the music technology market model.

In addition to this, the agile nature of the digital market and the relatively cheap deployment of competitive applications requires active development and evolution of technologies via constant innovation and new iterations of products and systems. For this reason it is a risk to consider TRL8 the final step of an application as complete and qualified. It is essential that the product constantly evolves, or else it will lose out to competition.

For this reason, #MusicBricks focuses primarily on deployment through stages of TRL4-TRL7 to maximise on the creative engagement with the tools by early adopter creative content maker communities; it ensures the potential for growth through feedback loops and iterative stages of active development; and capitalises on collaboration and agile and adaptive innovation for maximum market competitiveness.