Rock musician Beck is set to release 20 new songs only as sheet music, meaning those who want to listen will need to use their own musical talent.
With the often-heralded death of the record industry never quite coming to fruition, we’ve seen some musicians embracing digital music, from the record label offering free downloads for life to the rapper only allowing one person at a time to listen to his mp3 single. Taking a step in a different direction, popular singer-songwriter Beck is releasing Song Reader, a new album of 20 songs that is only available in sheet music format. To be published through McSweeney’s in December, the book will be a high quality hardback featuring full-color illustrations from artists such as Marcel Dzama, Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran and Jessica Hische, inspired by a time prior to recorded music, when decorative sheet music sold millions of copies. As well as providing a unique object for fans, the book also serves to encourage them to be more involved in bringing it to life – in order to hear a song, fans will have to play it themselves. McSweeney’s will post recorded renditions of the album tracks from fans, providing a platform for burgeoning musicians to connect with a like-minded audience. Although ostensibly a nostalgic return to the pre-phonographic era, the campaign also seeks to foster an interaction with fans, via the internet, that could not be gained through a standard LP release. Musicians, can you top this? Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar