Imogen Heap: Changing the Way Music Is Made

Filed Under (music) by on 07-21-2009

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Imogen Heap - EllipseA few months back I took a look at the internet, new media and the music industry and mentioned UK artist Imogen Heap both as an artist I was quite fond of and an artist who was using social media in a way that a lot of artists weren’t.  On August 24th Imogen Heap will release her third studio album, titled Ellipse, which will feature songs and artwork that were significantly influenced through online interaction with fans and followers.

As I mentioned previously Imogen Heap has spent over a year working on her new album and spending a lot of that time interacting with fans through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and more.  Since then the artist has turned to her fans and followers through these various channels to help her make decisions in the album making process.  Where most artists are using social media to share insight to the process, Imogen Heap took it one step further and asked her fans to be part of the process.

Imogen Heap used crowdsourcing and the image sharing site Flickr to determine which images would be used for the album art on Ellipse.  Asking fans to not only upload their images to be considered for the album, but also to vote for which images made it into the artwork.

The influence of fans didn’t stop there.  While writing the song “Tidal” for the new album, Imogen Heap struggled with the version of the chorus she wanted to use on the song.  Imogen Heap again turned to her fans and followers asking for help to complete the song.  Using YouTube and 12Seconds to broadcast the various versions and Twitter to update fans when new version of the chorus were available to weight in on.  In the end the collective efforts of both the artist and her fans made for a musical creating experience unlike any before.  So much so that her online collaborations made it into the latest issue of WIRED magazine.

She continues to embrace social media and the community of fans around her and recently made the Canvas music video available in exchange for a tweet.  Imogen Heap also made the song ‘First Train Home’ available to listen to on the Imogen Heap YouTube Channel.

With Trent Reznor backing out of the social media race and what seems like maybe even the music race, I am hopeful that artists like Imogen Heap will pick up where he left off and revolutionize the way fans and artists interact in all facets of the musical experience.  I’ve followed the creation of Ellipse off and on and I will tell you that Imogen Heap is both an amazing artist and quite an interesting person.  The two songs that have been fully available to fans are incredible and the pieces of other songs that I have heard over the last year or so have left me eagerly awaiting this release.

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