050: What makes music so powerful in arousing feelings and emotions? With John Vitale



Why is music so embedded in our memories?

In this episode of Hooked On Startups I’m delighted to be joined by John Vitale – Music Chief and Co-Founder at Focus at Will – a neuroscience based music service that helps increase your focus by reducing distractions, energizing you and helping you hit those critical deadlines.

John has 25 years experience in music, sound, and film production as supervisor, producer, engineer, and remixer.

He has worked for Warner Bros, Sony, BMG, and Universal Music, The B52ʼs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Filter, Eminem, KD Lang, George Clinton, and The Romantics.

John knows his stuff. Tune in to find out why music plays such an important part in everyone’s lives and how it can be used as an amazing tool to dramatically increase your productivity.

0:50 – Introducing John Vitale, music chief and co-founder at Focus at Will.

1:34 – John’s background in audio and music.

2:16 – Background on how Focus at Will got started and what they do to deconstruct music in order to understand it better.

3:48 – Digging into music’s effect on the brain and how their approach has evolved over time.

6:58 – Comparing John’s current work with his background in entertainment.

7:45 – Applying measurements to music in order to gauge feedback and responses; how that plays into the Focus at Will system.

10:46 – Gauging if the music is working effectively and the individualized approach of Focus at Will; the primal origins of our sensitivity to sound.

13:00 – The links between memories and certain sounds.

14:25 – How far along we might be in learning about how music affects the brain.

15:36 – Looking at why the music industry is so enormous and the importance of music to humans.

16:32 – Music’s effects on humans and plants.

17:55 – The depth that they found in this material while developing Focus at Will.

20:48 – Seeing other potential behavioral effects of music.

22:44 – Crafting an energetic, focus journey.

24:11 – How they are rating and experimenting with their music to generate data.

26:14 – Big moments of reactions and discovery John has encountered.

28:11 – Applying these ideas to augmented and mixed reality.

32:30 – How this will shift the role of music and sound in different aspects of life.

35:40 – Matthew’s experience with Focus at Will’s music and how it differs from normal music.

37:22 – What John is working on now and how it may develop in the near future.

40:04 – Being at the beginning of a huge journey of discovery and the role of AI in this work.

42:49 – The questionnaire.

49:28 – Learning about John and Focus at Will.

Resources and Links Mentioned:

Focus@Will (Free 2 week trial)

Hooked on Startups #010 – Will Henshall

This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin

Julia Mossbridge

Singularity University

Chris Milk

Chris Milk’s TED Talk – How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine