Thanks to the Internet and social media, the world is more connected than ever. As a result, fans have more access to their favorite musicians and can even have a direct influence on the music produced. Here are 11 musicians who worked with their fans.
1. Knife Party
When the Australian duo Knife Party had an upcoming set at the festival Tomorrowland, they turned to Twitter to get some help.
Fans sent in over 300 songs for the group to pick through. Even though the festival was the following day, Knife Party was able to sift through all of it and pick out the 20 best submissions. From there, they mixed the tracks together for 45 minutes of nonstop music.
2. A-Trak & Run DMC
Run DMC and A-Trak teamed up to create an interactive music video where the viewer can use voice commands to control what special effects happen in the video. A giant version of Run DMC strolls through New York City, and it’s up to the fans to decide how animated and colorful they want the video to be. For example, saying (or typing) “sky,” adds colorful stripes to the NYC skyline, and “fire” adds pixilated flames. You can watch the video here.
Earlier this year, Swedish DJ and producer Avicii launched a project called “Avicii x You.” Over 4000 fans from 140 countries participated in what was considered possibly the “world’s largest collaboration.” The DJ wanted everyone to be part of a global hit. It was an experiment of what could be accomplished using social media.
The project was separated into five themes: melody, bassline, beat & rhythm, break, and effects. From there, the themes were broken into three phases. Fans submitted their work, other users voted for their favorites, and finally Avicii edited the sample into the final project. After seven weeks, the result was a seven minute song called “X You.” 20% of the master royalties will go to the House for Hunger charity.
Avicii described the project:
"I think it's cool that people will be able to hear this track on the radio and know that they've all been part of creating it. Five years ago, this would not have been possible and now we have the whole world collaborating. Imagine what will happen in five, ten years from now when everyone everywhere is connected."
The Breezeblock was a radio show on BBC 1 that focused on electronic music. The host, Mary Ann Hobbs asked listeners to submit different samples and sounds. Noisia was then asked to pick one of the sounds and make a song around it. The electronic band settled on the sample of an apple being bitten into. You can hear the crunch fairly distinctly throughout the song.
5. Lady Gaga & Zedd
Before the release of Lady Gaga’s latest album, ARTPOP, the singer tweeted a challenge to her fans.
It was up to the listeners to stitch Lady Gaga’s a cappella singing together with Zedd’s track, “’Stache.”
You can listen to the winner above.
6. The Bloody Beetroots
Similiarly to Lady Gaga, Italian DJ Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo (The Bloody Beetroots) released the pieces of his music before the actual release. He released the sheet music so that the fans could play the song before hearing the real deal.
Deadmau5's track "The Veldt" was originally going to be an instrumental track based off of a short story by Ray Bradbury. He let his fans watch the process via a 22 hour long live stream. After finishing the track, he put it up on SoundCloud. Shortly after, the musician received numerous tweets asking him to check out a fan-made remix with vocals. The singer based his lyrics off the same short story. Deadmau5 liked it so much, he made the fan mix official.
8. The Bingo Players
Genero is a crowdsourcing website that helps connect musicians with creative film producers. Musicians post their budget and general ideas, and various filmmakers submit their ideas. The Bingo Players decided to leave the video theme completely open for the fans to decide. The winner was chosen by the DJs and Genero. It features animated senior citizens competing in increasingly aggressive situations.
9. Nick Romero
In June, upcoming DJ Nicky Romero gave fans one week to come up with samples, or "found sound," that reflected their personal interests and tastes. He then picked his favorites to mix into one song. All the different sounds were mapped out to show all the different samples geographically.
10. Rusko & Cypress Hill
In celebration for Rusko & Cypress Hill's collaboration EP, the musicians invited potential DJs to remix their songs with provided submixes. They also let the fans dictate the release of the music video for "Lez Go" with a Twitter contest. Users had to spread the word of the upcoming video to "unlock" its release date.
11. Boards of Canada
On Record Store Day in 2013, a New York patron stumbled upon a mysterious 12-inch from the notoriously cryptic band Boards of Canada. The cover featured a mysterious code: ("------ / ------ / ------ / XXXXXX / ------ / ------") and the record played static with a mechanical voice reciting the six digits to fill in the corresponding X’d spaces. This discovery sparked a world-wide scavenger hunt to find the rest of the code. Fans dissected clues, hacked music videos, and uncovered secret links.
Eventually, a commercial that ran on Adult Swim revealed another six digits, and a new website emerged: Cosecha-Transmisiones.com. A black screen with green text greets the viewer, and asks for a 36-digit password. After some serious internet sleuthing, fans cracked the code. When the full password was inputted into the website, viewers were given a static video that disclosed the album title, artwork, and release date. The album is called Tomorrow’s Harvest.
The string-dangling did not end there. After the code was cracked, BoC tweeted a aerial view of Lake Dolores Waterpark, an abandoned park in Southern California. In a follow-up tweet, they added a distorted video of the waterpark’s ad. Rabid fans were able to deduce that this would be the location of the new album’s first listening party. Listeners travelled to the middle of the desert to hear Tomorrow’s Harvest played for the first time over fuzzy speakers in a trailer. One can only assume that all that hard work made the music sound that much sweeter.