Feeds

Beck's open-source challenge to freetards: play it yourself!

Album as sheet music is a brilliant gambit

Top three mobile application threats

Fans of the artist Beck must wait until December for his new album - and if they want to hear it, they can play it themselves. As you may have heard, Beck has said he'll issue his next album Song Reader as sheet music, rather than as a performed and produced sound recording.

"The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author, but if you want to hear Do We? We Do or Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard bringing them to life depends on you," according to the official blurb.

It'll actually come in quite a lavish package, made in association with Dave Eggar's cult publishing imprint McSweeney's. Twenty song booklets add up to 108 pages with original "home-play-inspired art" leaving little doubt what's required from the buyer. And it's not passive consumption.

There are a couple of other nice aspects to this manoeuvre. The McSweeney's site will host fan-contributed interpretations of the songs - for which (we trust) they'll receive a performance royalty. Share the wealth. And remember that unless (or until) Beck releases his own interpretation, there is no canonical original. So the fan versions won't be "covers"- they'll be interpretations.

Beck doesn't explicitly say that the sheet music release is a response to piracy, or even the instant reproduction of digital goods. However his UK publisher is happy if you were to draw that inference. According to Lee Brackstone, Faber's publishing director, it "makes a radical statement about the value and importance of performed and recorded music at a time when these very things are under threat".

Not all Grauniad readers are impressed.

"What an asshole," complains one, perhaps dreading the prospect of leaving the garden shed. "Maybe someone will transcribe a tab version sort of a more lo-fi version of illegal downloading," ponders another on the newspaper's website.

Which perhaps makes the argument more eloquently than a diatribe from Beck would.

Whatever the motivation, it's a brilliant marketing move - it's got people talking about Beck - and an artistic statement. Here's the source code, make the record. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.