Stanford University

Center for Computer Research in Music & Acoustics (CCRMA)

Fall 2018

Music 152A: Careers in Media Technology

2 units

Friday 10:30-11:50 AM PT

CCRMA Classroom (Knoll 217), The Knoll


Jay LeBoeuf

Lecturer, Stanford University

Executive Director, Real Industry 

Contact Jay with questions via email:

Jay.LeBoeuf  @   stanford  dot   edu

Office Hours: By appointment

Required Materials:

Course website for blended/online lectures to be viewed before each face-to-face class meeting.

Please note that all course materials, including video lectures and supplemental materials are posted on our website:

Course Description:

Careers in Media Technology explores how leading digital media and entertainment technology companies, such as Pandora, Adobe, Sonos, Dolby, iZotope, Facebook, and Avid, bring products from idea to market. We examine best practices, roles, day-to-day responsibilities, desired skill sets, and department/team function. This seminar is intended for all students considering full-time positions or internships in the music / audio, video, and creatvie tech industry. No prior engineering background required.  Topics include: software development in large organizations, UX/UI design, marketing, hardware development, product management, advanced technology and research, project management, sales, data and analytics, executive teams, and operations (HR, IP/patents).  Online lectures available. Class time includes discussion and meetings with industry professionals.

In partnership with dozens of companies and industry mentors, we are breaking down how some of the greatest products were made, how these companies operate, and the roles and skills involved.  Join us on this adventure - meet and interact with the leading companies in the music industry.

Projected Course Outcomes:

At the end of this course, students will:

  • Understand the diversity of roles and needs of the music and audio technology industry
  • Connect and network with current industry leaders
  • Understand how people, teams, departments work together in established and startup music and audio technology companies.
  • Understand how leading companies prosper and how products move from ideation through to mass commercialization
  • Participate as part of a design team in the mock design of a new product, moving through ideation, to testing, and developing and delivering a sprint pitch

Course Requirements:

Flipped Classroom

Much of the content of this course is delivered through videos and readings that you will need to prepare before each class meeting.  We will have frequent guest presenters in class. Watching their intro videos (when available) and reviewing assigned readings in advance is key to having productive face-to-face classes.

Weekly In-person and Guest Presentations

Each week students will review online interviews and meet as a class face-to-face with local or remote industry professionals. For many of these presentations, students will watch an introductory video before class and come prepared with specific questions for deeper engagement with the guest speakers.

Team Sprint Projects

Students will work in teams to prepare a presentations, sharing the team’s ideas and key learnings.

Grading Policy

Completion of online videos and assignments


In-person class attendance and engagement with mentors


Team projects and presentations



Sept 28, 2018 Inside the Music & Video Tech Industry; Overview; Marketing

Jay LeBoeuf, Executive Director, Real Industry  

Dave Hill, Jr, Fractional CMO | Executive Coach

Formerly at iZotope, Ableton

Oct 5, 2018 Research and Development

Kapil Krishnamurthy, Head of Software | Bose AR, Bose

Oct 12, 2018 User Experience and Software Engineering

Diane Roberts, Director, Software Development, Sonos

Oct 19, 2018 Hardware and Product R&D

Glenn Dickins, Architect of Convergence, Dolby Laboratories

Mark Alexander, Hardware Architect at Dolby Laboratories

Mark Thomas, Researcher in Audio and Acoustics,

Oct 26, 2018 Business Development
Alandha Scott , Global Head of Partner Marketing, YouTube

Nov 2, 2018 Content Creation; Spatial Audio

Will Littlejohn,  Director of Sound Design, Facebook

Nov 9, 2018 Product Management; Software Engineering; Virtual Reality

Gina Collecchia, Senior Software Engineer, Audio/DSP at Jaunt VR

Adam Somers, VP of Product, Jaunt VR

Nov 16, 2018 Product Management; Quality Assurance; User Testing;

Todd Chernecki, CEO/Co-Founder, SubPac

Sarosh Khwaja, Head of R&D, SubPac

Sean Leonard, EVP - Strategic Development, SubPac

John Alexiou, Co-founder, President,  SubPac

Nov 30, 2018 Signal Processing; Research and Development

Steinunn Arnardottir, Director Of Engineering at Native Instruments

Dec 7, 2018 Advanced Product Creation

Neal Lackritz, Engineering Director

Week 1: September 30, 2016   Overview of the Music Technology Industry

We will take you behind-the-scenes into how the media technology industry really works.  We’ll provide a high-level overview of the media technology industry - focusing on the music technology space! We introduce the product development process from ideation through shipping, explore a variety of industry roles,  explore the types of companies available for your future careers, and present the business fundamentals used by all companies, engineers, and product teams.

This week’s assignment (due Oct 7):

  1. Watch Session 1: Overview
  2. Complete Assignment #1 (Industry Exploration)
  3. Watch Session 2: Product Management
  4. Submit surveys to help us improve the content!

Guest: Derek Tingle, MIR Engineer, SoundCloud

Week 2: October 7, 2016   Product Management

We'll look at how music and audio tech companies develop products that consumer love. How are new products, product lines, and features created and prioritized? Does a company use a single "product guru" who decides the features or new products? How do you ship products that customers consistently want?

This week we will use customer discovery techniques to determine what “product” we will build.

In-class session: Review of product management questions. Guest provides coaching on customer discovery.    

Optional references: Lean Startup, Lean Entrepreneur, Business Model Generation, Agile Product Management,


Guest: Gordon Lyon, Principal Product Manager, Adobe


  1. Watch User Experience, User Interface
  2. Complete Assignment #2

Week 3: October 14, 2016    User Experience, User Interface

With computing everywhere we go - smart phones, tablets, browser and cloud, desktop, and hardware - product design is everywhere we look. We explore how designers approach the layout, look and feel, and implementation of some of your favorite mobile apps and software.

Visual design, graphic design, user interface and overall product experience from logging in and registering your product, through pairing your iPhone, and making professional video editing tools like Avid MediaComposer feel like a tool - a natural extension of their hand and realization of what they have in their minds eye.  It’s the layout of 80 fader live sound console, with ingenious and ergonomic design.    

In the audio industry, it’s how you interact with your music.  In the consumer space, it touches the lives of hundreds of millions of consumers.  And in the professional space, you have thousands of professionals using your product for 12 hours a day!

Reference: The A/B Test - Inside the technology changing industry

Guest: Jonathan Eccles, Senior Product Manager, Listener Ad Experience, at Pandora

Assignment (due Oct 21):

  1. Watch Session: Research & Development 
  2. Complete Assignment# 3

Week 4:  October 21, 2016       Product Design & R&D Part 1

This week explores the teams and technology behind leading algorithms and advanced technologies. We look at how the R&D is developed, prioritized, and implemented - and the technical and interpersonal skills these engineers use to succeed. We’ll look at Pandora’s music recommendation algorithm, audio signal processing algorithms from iZotope, and the audio fingerprinting algorithms that allow our mobile devices to recognize songs in 3 seconds or less!

Guest: Neal Lackritz, Director of Technical Education and Development, Bose

Assignment (due Nov 4):

  1. Complete Assignment# 4

Week 5: October 28, 2016        Research & Development

This week explores the teams and technology behind leading algorithms and advanced technologies. We look at how the R&D is developed, prioritized, and implemented - and the technical and interpersonal skills these engineers use to succeed. We’ll look at Pandora’s music recommendation algorithm, audio signal processing algorithms from iZotope, and the audio fingerprinting algorithms that allow our mobile devices to recognize songs in 3 seconds or less!

We’ll talk about how the R&D engineers might often get a lot of the credit, but the core algorithm might only be 5% of the total work developed!  

Guests: Suketu Kamdar,  Senior Project Manager, R&D Innovation at DTS, Inc.

Jean-Marc Jot, Sr VP, R&D at DTS, Inc.

Assignment (due Oct 28): Watch next session online and submit surveys /

  1. Watch Session: Hardware Engineering
  2. Complete Assignment# 5

Week 6:  November 4, 2016        Hardware Engineering
We plug our guitars into a stomp box and guitar amp, or use a MIDI keyboard to play some synth parts and record a vocal line with a microphone into an audio interface on our laptop.  We listen to our music with high quality headphones and speakers, and enjoy room to room wireless audio and bluetooth syncing among our devices.   Or, some of us have the privilege of working on an 80-fader mixing console.  This is all enabled by hardware engineers.

From the analog circuit design to the power amplifiers, we cover designing customer chips, industrial design, manufacturing millions of units, and wireless synchronization.   In audio and music, their work makes music more visceral - creative, tactile, and sounding amazing.  

Roles we may cover: Mechanical, Industrial Design, Embedded Systems Engineer, Firmware Engineer, DSP Engineer, Electrical, Original Design Manufacturers (ODM), Contract Manufacturers (CM).  HW Product Manager, HW Program Manager.

We’ll discuss the challenges of designing physical products.

Guest: Richard Kulavik, Chief Technology Officer, Turtle Beach Corporation

Assignment (due Nov 11):

  1. Watch Session: Software Engineering
  2. Complete Assignment# 6

Week 7: November 11, 2016     Software Engineering

We’ll look at how software engineers create production-grade code powering music subscription services, iOS Apps, desktop music creation software, backend web services, and software that makes your HW devices intelligent.

How do you go from being a computer science major to a software engineer?  How do you develop audio apps used by millions of users?  Or software that world class musicians, Grammy winning recording and mixing engineers, and world video editors rely upon for their living?   How do dozens of engineers simultaneous collaborate on a release?        

Guest: Adam Somers, Engineering Manager at Jaunt VR

Assignment (due Nov 18):

  1. Watch Session: User Experience, User Interface
  2. Complete Assignment# 7

Week 8: November 18, 2016   Korg

Assignment (due Dec 2):

  1. Watch Sessions: Intellectual Property
  2. Watch Sessions: HR & Hiring
  3. Complete Assignment# 8

November 25, 2016    NO CLASS - Thanksgiving Break

Optional sessions:


The world’s greatest product do not sell themselves - and I’ve seen firsthand how product launches can make or break years of R&D. Marketing is about connecting to the customer - identifying who they are, what their needs and motivations are, how and where to deliver them, how to price them, and how to promote the products. Why should they care about your product? How do you keep them engaged in your community, happy with your product, and purchasing future products?

Program Management
How do companies deliver on time, on budget, in a scalable, repeatable manner? Project Managers synchronize the company's products, releases, teams, and ensure that they supports the larger needs of management. Undergraduate and Grad students often struggle with this - how much time to spend on which projects, and ensure that you are making progress on all of your projects, hit all of your deadlines, and are in sync with project and teammates. At the most fundamental level, project management puts processes in place to help engineers, marketing, and sales hit their schedule.

Topics: Agile, waterfall, scrum, scrum master, product owner, product backlogs, prioritization, standups, sprints.  We’ll look at how Adobe, iZotope, and Universal Audio apply Project Management in their products.  

This week we will teach you the essentials of Agile software development. This teamwork and development methodology will be used to keep your projects running smoothly over the next 7 weeks.

Week 9: Dec 2, 2016     HR: Resumes, Interviewing, Job Offers and Entering the Industry

How do you get into a company? What do HR managers and hiring managers look for when they are screening your resumes for a music and audio industry job, interviewing you, and coaching you through your career?

We’ll go behind the scenes of the hiring process and meet top recruiters from leading media tech companies.

Assignment (due Dec 9):

  1. Watch Sessions: Native Instruments Strategy (Mate)
  2. Complete Assignment #9: LANDR Case Study

Week 10: Dec 9, 2016     Executive Teams and Leadership

We’ll also use this class time to focus on supporting each other with internships, introductions, and exploring how we can pursue opportunities in this industry.

Guest: Pascal Pilon, CEO at LANDR Audio

Discuss best practices from our mentors at LANDR, LANDR blog.  

Instructors Bio:

Jay LeBoeuf is a technology executive, educator, and entrepreneur in the media creation and production industry. Jay is the President/Executive Director of Real Industry - a non-profit transforming how students learn about the real world and how products go from idea through commercialization.    


LeBoeuf led R&D, IP, and technology strategy as Strategic Technology Director at iZotope.   Jay founded and was CEO of intelligent audio technology company Imagine Research, which was acquired by iZotope in March 2012.   While creating a "Google for Sound", Jay was recognized as a Bloomberg Businessweek Innovator, awarded $1.1M in Small Business Innovation Research grants by the U.S. National Science Foundation, and interviewed on BBC World, Science 360, and other major media outlets. Prior to founding Imagine Research, LeBoeuf was a researcher in the Advanced Technology Group at Digidesign (Avid Technology) in charge of innovations for the industry-standard Pro Tools platform. LeBoeuf lectures on Real Industry and audio / machine learning at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and is on the Board of Advisors for music startups Chromatik and Humtap.  

Priya Shekar is a music technologist, product consultant and entrepreneur building the new digital renaissance. She currently serves as Program Director at Real Industry, a non-profit transforming how students enter the media tech industry through experiential education, teaching at top-ranking universities including Stanford, UC Berkeley and University of Michigan. Priyanka has founded startups in mobile music technology through Stanford University’s leading StartX and Graduate School of Business venture incubators. She has consulted for Shazam and Lincoln Motor Co. Priyanka studied on a Stanford Arts Institute Fellowship at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), the premier institute for music technology. She is passionate about helping young people design their careers, STEAM education, and is involved with the Audio Engineering Society San Francisco Section and Y Combinator’s Female Founders networks.