Season 1: Episode 8
Upending the Music Industry with Imogen Heap
I recently spoke with GRAMMY winning musician, songwriter and the incredibly technophilic Imogen Heap. She’s an artist and instigator who has drawn a rather impressive crowd as she’s proposing new ways to create and share both music and how it’s valued. As someone who is immersed in music in my everyday life, I was eager to hear her take on where music is heading — as a community and industry. We discussed her work to create a “fair trade” version of the music ecosystem and industry — the goal is to make it as fluid, transparent, and flexible as possible.
Imogen is an extremely forward thinking artist who has been making music since 1997. As she is not currently signed to a label or a publisher, she’s liberated from typical constraints and is taking time to explore what’s newly possible. Her recent experiments include: influencing the design of “gestural music ware,” and releasing her latest song, “Tiny Human,” via Blockchain. Rather than giving in to frustration with the music industry, Imogen focuses her energy and growing network of collaborators on developing a system in favor of the artist and their audience. At a time when artists are more connected to their fans, she sees Blockchain as a way for artists to get more involved in the distribution aspect of creation, something they have been disconnected from for far too long.
We then spoke about her work with Mycelia, a protective ecosystem for musicians and a sustainable environment for free trade music which places empowered artists at the core. Mycelia is about setting ethical standards for technology, enabling musicians to grow a system organically that allows them to share information. Most artists, she explains, have little to no idea where their money comes from (if at all), due to the opaque, complex, and complicated nature of the music industry. Imogen wants to change all that.
She encourages allcreators and appreciators of music alike, to sign this petition at DotMusic for artists to gain control of the .music domain. A sort of commons for music, the DotMusic movement is integral to establishing trust in the Social OS which is evolving in the musical community and elsewhere. In her own words, “We are the thread, we are the common denominator. I want [musicians to have] that top-level domain, that standard, that identity online.” Imogen is also coordinating a hack event in London the weekend of April first, and invites anyone out there who would like to be involved to get in touch with her.
You can also support Imogen by visiting her Changetip profile and installing the ProTip extension to your Chrome browser. With Protip, funds will be allocated to Imogen automatically based on the time you spend on her website.
Image credit: Fiona Garden