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March 14, 2011

Imogen Heap launches her crowd sourced album campaign

I love it when somebody uses social media a little differently, rather than following the sheep and simply setting up the usual channels. I like it even more when someone goes out there and tries to do something a bit creative and different. Step forward musician Imogen Heap, who is well known for a being a big social media advocate. Imogen has created a dedicated microsite for her latest project, which cleverly has a #hashtag as its working title. Here is how she explains it:

Imogen Heap Microsite#heapsong1 is the working title of the first song from my new album. The album will be completed in roughly 3 years, with a new song released every 3 months as soon as it’s completed.

My fourth solo album begins here, with you on the 14th March. You are the spark of inspiration.

Have a look at the ‘keyboard’ page, hover over the piano keys, click and discover how you can get involved with sounds, words, image and video.

Why am I doing this? Well, there’s so much going on in my life with touring, talks and tech that this was both a necessity coupled with my passion for collaborative, spontaneous and creative projects. I also love the idea of turning the tables in that the seeds of the song begins with you, making a full circle when you experience it as a finished piece.

Plus… I often thrive on a deadline (Speeding Cars + Can’t take it in both written / recorded in a week) and creative limitations (Glittering Cloud – a song about locusts using purely locust samples as the rhythm track!). I want to really put myself to the test and I’m going to have fun doing it, with you!

I wonder where your ‘seeds’ are going to lead me?Piano Keys

Imogen is also a huge advocate of video blogging and she regularly shares her latest ideas and works. She even provides a schedule of when she is going to be doing this through a Ustream channel here is the schedule page in case your interested.

On the microsite the user sees a virtual piano (pictured) here each key is a different day and has its own video explaining that day’s task. The Timeline for ‘#HeapSong1′ is as follows;

  • 14th March: The ‘recording’ process will begin with Imogen’s fans uploading sound ‘seeds’ for the song (a cat’s meow, rustling leaves, banging on pots and pans) from all over the world via Soundcloud to her #heapsong1 microsite. Imogen will be online chatting about and choosing those sounds her instincts draw her to.
  • 15th March: People can submit words to a ‘wordcloud’ where more popular words visually grow in size. Imogen will be watching and writing at home being inspired by these ‘buzz’ words with an aim to encapsulate that day in time, lyrically.
  • 16th March: A space for people to upload their own photographs/ drawings/ stencils etc they feel connect to the past two inspirational ‘seed’ day’s themes in some way. The favourite/s will be incorporated into the 3DiCD (a virtual 3D CD) digital artwork.
  • 17th March: Thursday is for moving image (animation/film etc). These will be the core of the video for the song. Again, urging people to choose clips they feel flow with the direction of the song.
  • 18th March: Imogen will reveal the middle section of the song only… here she will encourage people to record a ‘solo’ (beatbox, cello, vocal, spoons, you name it) via Soundcloud over this section.
  • 19th March: Imogen will discuss and choose one or some of these solos which will be added into the mix.
  • 21st March: The song will be written and completed by the morning of the 21st March just in time to make the video which will be filmed, edited and ready for release 28th March.
  • 26th March: Imogen, during this period will be inviting/challenging fans to draw inspiration from those same initial seeds and finish a piece of work of their own. On this day they can upload their work for all to see and hear on an ‘inspiration wall’, whether that might be poetry, music or a video
    blog response.
  • 28th March: Taking things to the extreme, Imogen will reveal the first listen of the song publicly on her website on 28th March in parallel with a live remix by Tim Exile who will also be hearing it for the first time. https://www.timexile.com

Her fans are encouraged to send anything from car horns through to rustling leaves. All of the content which is sent in and used is to be accredited and paid for appropriately which I think is pretty fair too. I think this is an interesting and exciting concept. It is giving the fans the power to actually influence their favourite musician’s album.

If I am going to be picky I think the channels could have been done a bit slicker and shared a bit better but I still think this is an interesting idea and something which could prove extremely fruitful for both Imogen and her fans. Social media is about engagement and you can’t get much more engaging than producing the music yourself.

I would like to give a bit of a hat tip to my good friend Gemma Wilson who tipped me off about this as she knows the type of stuff I like to blog about.

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