Boston: The Hidden Hub of Music and Technology

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Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU)
Headquarters: Cambridge, MA
Year Launched: 1984

MOTU is famous among musicians for its Macintosh and Windows audio recording software. The company created Performer, one of the first MIDI music programs for the original Macintosh, in 1985. Its current products include Traveler, a small, portable, audio-recording console that plugs into a Mac’s FireWire port and allows users to record up to eight audio tracks at a CD-quality bit rate of 192Khz. Musicians can plug their microphones, guitars, synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, and effects synthesizers directly into the Traveler, then mix and monitor these channels through the device’s headphone output, while the attached computer can concentrate on recording or playing back the audio signals.
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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • This is all true, as a Boston area musician, I can say that there are much more opportunities here for musicians than most anywhere else. I believe Boston has the most shows than any other city on any given night. The technology is also very true, with MIT, etc. however, it is a very tough business to be in. I own a record label and just released an album for the band theINFORMATI And we believe it will explode because of the Boston/Cambridge scene.

  • Don’t forget Tourfilter, the most popular concert notification service:

  • gary

    In addition to Tourfilter, there’s also and Boston appears to be a concert tracking hub!

  • Kyle

    In terms of local area software companies with some sort of music/media technology, there also is Peermeta ( in Acton with a mobile content / Web 2.0 twist.

  • So it seem like after Venue Czar conquers Vermont, they should target Boston? Venue Czar is the ultimate localized online booking platform.

  • You could add us to this list as soon as we’re out of stealth mode. (

  • Backbone Networks is another local company in this space. We provide internet radio automation systems and is the system behind the IBS Student Radio Network. There are over 30 station on the network and a number of them are local including:

    Simmons College
    New England Art Institute
    Babson College

    Separately, a non-profit start up is the Public Radio Exchange in Cambridge. They are the online clearinghouse for Public Radio content.

  • New England has a great recource of musicians who have many opportunites and folks who are ready to help them with their careers. The cites Boston, Providence & Worcester all offer great venues and support services.

  • I’m from the Boston area and am in the process of creating a music promotion website, Artistir. It’s not just for local musicians or bands either, but we’re steadily getting more and more.

  • Mason

    Thanks for this, I just finished my AD in programming after working as a sound engineer for the last 7-8 years so I really appreciate the compilation of these companies because I want to eventually work writing audio software.