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For information on booking Nolan for a speaking engagement, and to discuss topics and availability, contact:

William Morris Entourage (WME) Speakers (reference: Nolan Gasser)

At a recent CES (Consumer Electronic Show) Conference in Las Vegas, a leading Silicon Valley VC turned to Nolan Gasser and asked, “So, how does it feel to have created something that over 250 million Americans adore?”  The crazy thing about this question is that it is based on reality! The huge popularity of Pandora Radio is due in large part to the success of the Music Genome Project, which from the start of the company in 1999 was under the direction of its Chief Musicologist (now Emeritus), Nolan Gasser – who not only is the Architect of the Music Genome Project, but likewise ran the entire music operation, wrote the analysis manuals, and helped define the algorithm that each day connects millions of people to the music they love. Not many musicologists can say they’ve had such a dramatic impact on the music industry and the musical lives of such a huge number of average citizens.

Nolan is currently completing a book entitled WHY YOU LIKE IT: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste–to be published by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Press, in 2016. The book explores the full dimension of music, unveiling for a lay audience what lies behind our musical taste—from a musicological, scientific, cultural, and physiological standpoint; the book explores what our musical taste says about us, what we can do to enhance it, and how it can make our lives richer and more successful. 

Among many other upcoming speaking engagements, Nolan will be delivering an upcoming TEDx talk entitled, “Empowering Your Musical Taste” in the November 2015.


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Nolan Gasser delivering his talk “Pandora Radio and the Music Genome Project: What Science and Musicology Reveal About Our Musical Tastes” (Linda Hall Library Speaker Series, Kansas City, 2012)

With a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Dr. Gasser has spent the past 15 years exploring the general nature of musical taste—not only via his work at Pandora, but also through intensive studies on the interrelationship between music and culture, as well as music and various branches of science: mathematics, physics, neuroscience, biology, and genetics. These have led to the forthcoming book, numerous articles, and an ever-increasing demand for speaking engagements to all types of audiences. Among recent highlights include a keynote speech at a joint meeting between the National Endowment of the Arts and the Department of Health and Human Services on arts education, held in Washington D.C.; a slot at the famed Linda Hall Library Speaking Series in Kansas City (see video above); a slot at the esteemed Carmel Arts and Ideas Festival, and as a distinguished fellowship at the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at UC Santa Barbra; as well as dozens of private and corporate conferences and gatherings.

Dr. Gasser’s speaking engagements range, as requested, from 20-90 minutes, and include fascinating discussions, compelling slides, and a good deal of musical material—including performances by him on the piano, when desired. His engaging and humor-filled talks are always a big hit with audiences of every sort of background. Several lectures are available, ranging from his most popular talk on musical taste, to various, more detailed discussions on the relationship of music and science, discussions on the relationship between music and culture, etc. Other, more specific topics are possible, pending discussion between the client and Dr. Gasser – as he is fluent on all periods of music history, and styles ranging from classical to jazz to rock to Broadway. Fees are commensurate with others in the speaking circuit.

Above is a video promo from his talk “Pandora Radio and the Music Genome Project: What Science and Musicology Reveal About Our Musical Taste” delivered at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City in March 2012.



Copyright 2013 Nolan Gasser
Last update: Feburary 18th 2013