Loyola University Chicago

Department of Computer Science


Information Systems student wins big with music app idea

Information Systems student wins big with music app idea

Information systems student Jonah Murray hopes to roll out his award-winning concert-review app this summer in time for the Lollapalooza music festival.

By Gabrielle Barnes | Student Reporter

Senior information systems major Jonah Murray spends a lot of time on techie gadgets like most young adults. But there’s one big difference—he’s setting out to create an app that he hopes will become a trend.

Murray’s idea for Emurse came to be after he spent a summer going to alternative, lesser-known artist performances. He discovered the lack of artist variety in music-rating apps such as Songkick.

“I was going to a lot of concerts and I wanted something I could just go to and see what people think [about an artist], and I could not find that. If an artist wasn’t incredibly well-known, they just wouldn’t have that data at all,” said Murray, whose app will give concert goers a chance to scope out venues and artists before buying tickets to performances. “I decided a lot of people would value this.”

Although Murray said he wouldn’t consider himself a tech mastermind, he has always been interested in learning more about how technology affects the world. He chose to go into information systems because “it’s a place where business and technology meet," and to minor in computer science.

Ideas to actions

It wasn’t long before one of his computer science professors encouraged him to enter in the Chicago Innovation Challenge to put his ideas into action.

The competition, hosted by the Jules F. Knapp Entrepreneurship Center of the Illinois Institute of Technology, invites qualifying Illinois high school and college students to solve a real-world consumer need and demonstrate their inventiveness and originality at solving their chosen problem. Participants compete for prize money, along with 6-weeks of free rent at mHub Co-Working Space to work on the invention.

Murray was chosen as a finalist and was given the opportunity to present his concept to a panel of independent judges. His idea and execution of Emurse awarded him third place in the university/college division.

“Emurse really won based on the value of its creativity and usefulness as there were other app competitors but not in the music space,” said Donna Rockin, executive director of the Jules F. Knapp Entrepreneurship Center.

Turning passion into a career 

Murray is proud of his accomplishment and grateful to have had the opportunity to test his idea in a competitive, but innovative environment.

“Taking [my] idea and presenting it to the judges was satisfying and fulfilling, with or without a win,” he said.

After graduation, Murray will start his “dream job” in a tech position at Discover Financial Services. However, he doesn’t plan on abandoning Emurse. He plans to share a portion of his $500 prize with the people who helped him. Then, he will use the remaining money to put the final touches on Emurse.

Murray’s goal is to have a skeleton prototype of the app by spring 2017, and hopes Emurse will be available to consumers in time for Chicago’s biggest music event, Lollapalooza, in August.

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