Feeds

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

Album as sheet music is a brilliant gambit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.