random ramblings of an unconscious mind
Beck has proven throughout his musical career that he is anything but stale. He constantly challenges his audience. This time he has gone a step further with the release of his upcoming album, which will not be in audio format. Instead, he borrows the distribution technique of music from the past; and thus releasing his new album in sheet music. Beck Hansen’s Song Reader is to be released in December 2012 by McSweeney’s, and is available for pre-order here, while limited quantity of signed copies will be available at $50 each, available here. The lavish hardcover carrying case includes 20 songs, which have never been released or recorded before.
The package measures 9.5” x 12.5” with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets—18 featuring original lyrics, and 2 instrumentals—with covers from more than a dozen different artists. There is also full color artwork by various illustrators and a foreword by Beck.
According to the product description: “the Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012—an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together.”
Beck asks his audience to interpret the songs, as it has been done in the past century with the works of every musician, thus making each rendition unique. Readers’ (and select musicians’) renditions of the songs will be featured on the McSweeney’s website. Nevertheless, unequivocally there will be youtube posts by the public.
ADWeek has posted an interesting argumentative piece on the release of this “album”, contemplating on this marketing strategy, the targeted audiences and the implications. For example, Beck’s tour will likely become instantaneously sold out, by people who sought to hear the album performed by the creator for the first time. My favorite comment in the article was that “In the world of slumping CD sales, these efforts have been hit or miss in terms of marketing, but they can all step aside, as the battle for hippest release has just been won by Beck.”
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