Who’s on Aux? Student-made app MCEE launches Wednesday – The Heights

The reign of aux-cord bullies could come to an end this Wednesday when MCEE, an app developed by three Boston College students to allow shared control over the music played in group settings, launches at the Apple App Store launches.

“MCEE is an app that tries to bring music to social gatherings,” said Jack Russell, co-founder and CEO of the app and CSOM ’23. “So anyone can join a ‘party’ that a host is creating and you can request songs on a common keyword. Then you can tune songs up and down so that the most popular songs are played by everyone at the party.”

MCEE – pronounced “emcee” – was co-founded by Russell; Rhett Somers, CSOM ’23; and Gianna Jarmain, chief technology officer of the app and MCAS ’23. Russell first developed the concept in the fall of 2021 when he realized the difficulty of creating a everyone’s engaging party playlist.

“I was always berated with song requests from people ranging from Drake to Kesha, and I always felt like there was a better way to hear everyone’s songs who wanted to play them at a party,” Russell said.

When Russell pitched his idea for the app to Somers, Somers asked that the idea be fleshed out in his business management course taught by Doug Shaw. Working with his team in the classroom alongside Russell, Somers said they’ve refined the app and better understood its potential.

“Towards the end of that class we had to do a whole presentation, and [Shaw] came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Hey, I’m not sure if you’re planning on pursuing this any further, but I would definitely recommend it,'” Somers said.

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When Russell and Somers realized they needed someone to develop the app, they originally hired their friend Jarmain to recruit someone knowledgeable about iOS development and able to program MCEE.

“I kind of got in touch with him [computer science] department since I’m a CS major and somehow helped put out newsletters or emails,” Jarmain said. “I’ve been trying to see if we have anyone interested in coming in.”

When this search turned up few viable candidates, Russell and Somers realized they had overlooked an obvious option.

“Jack and I kind of looked at each other at one point and were like, ‘Wait, why don’t we just have it [Jarmain] Are you coming on board?’” Somers said. “‘She’s already doing all the work.'”

Although Jarmain isn’t yet fluent in Swift, a programming language used primarily to build apps for iOS, she said it’s less expensive for her to learn than to outsource the development of the software from MCEE to another programmer.

“We came to the decision that either spend tens of thousands of dollars to outsource someone, or I would just spend the summer learning Swift and iOS development,” Jarmain said.

The co-founders also participated in two accelerator programs to develop the app, including [email protected]an on-campus program at Boston College’s Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Soaring Startup Circle (SSC) Venture Partners, a summer accelerator program founded by BC students and alumni.

“We received a significant amount of money through the SSC, our summer accelerator, and then some of our closest mentors also came from that program,” Russell said.

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