It seems nowadays bands and artists have to do something completely different, off-the-wall, out there to stay relevant or to come back to relevance. They have to essentially create their own publicity, wake up the fickle music fans, if you will. Radiohead famously offered their LP, In Rainbow, as a name-your-own price download and the platform Kickstarter gives musicians an outlet to create their own campaigns.
Now, ’90s music veteran Beck, who is responsible for some of the most well-known and overplayed songs of the ’90s (“Loser”, “Where It’s at”) is making head-ways by releasing Song Reader, a 20 song album, in conjunction with McSweeney’s later this year. Why is this big news, considering Beck has released countless albums (something like 10 or 11)? The big deal is that this album will be comprised entirely of sheet music and only sheet music. 20 individual pieces of sheet music. There are no actual song recordings.
Why would anyone want this, aside from the novelty and downright creativity of it? The answer is simple: control and freedom. The fan becomes the creator. Beck wants fans and musicians to bring each song to life and share their creations. Wow, mind officially blown.
The creations will not go silently into the night, selected song renditions will be featured on the McSweeney website for all to hear. Song Reader will be available in December of this year and includes amazing artwork for each song.
The question isn’t, will someone top Beck’s idea, it’s who will top it and when. Now, we wait.