Magazine article The Spectator

CULTURE NOTES - Heaps of Fans

Magazine article The Spectator

CULTURE NOTES - Heaps of Fans

Article excerpt

Imogen Heap, the English songwriter whose gloves let her control her music with hand gestures (see above), has perfected the art of delegation. While most musicians leave it to their labels to sort out a press biography, she forged hers from 1,500 contributions from her Twitter followers; where others endlessly pore over potential concert setlists, she lets visitors to her website choose hers. It's what the 21st century has termed 'crowdsourcing', and Heap is now taking it one step further: she's co-writing her fourth album with her fans .

She's brought out two songs from the album so far, and both have involved asking the public to contribute ideas : from musical snippets to recollections of slightly embarrassing personal experiences.

Of course, this level of public involvement is nothing new; recent crowdsourcing experiments such as the YouTube-sourced film Life in a Day are only the latest in a long line of such ventures dating back at least as far as the 19th-century OED, which was compiled using word usages sent in by volunteers. …

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