Artists have already crowdsourced documentaries and art exhibits -- why can’t a radio single come next?
That seems to be the thinking behind “Avicii x You,” the project Swedish DJ Avicii and telecom giant Ericsson will launch at the Consumer Electronics Show Wednesday. The project invites fans to download a pre-selected chord progression, pitch and key. Over the next two months, fans can then submit melodies, bass lines, rhythms and vocals based on that material. Avicii will then curate all that fan feedback into a song.
“Actually involving a lot of people … and the end result [being] something really good -- that’s my main ambition,” the DJ says in a promotional video. The finished single will drop on Feb. 26, which coincides with the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
While the project is obviously a publicity stunt for Ericsson -- the company sent a lengthy press release about its “young, progressive” partner, and Avicii’s manager made an appearance at Ericsson’s CES booth -- it also speaks volumes about social media’s impact on the entertainment industry.
Avicii is one of a crop of young artists who rose to stardom largely through social media. The now 23-year-old DJ gained his initial buzz on the blogosphere long before he signed to a label or wrote his first hit, according to MTV. Later, he told a Forbes interviewer that he credited social media with the “viral” popularity of many dance tracks. He recently joined Instagram and announced to his 550,000 Twitter followers that he has resolved to tweet even more in the New Year.
“Today it’s all about embracing new opportunities and new ways of producing, marketing and distributing the music,” the managing director of Universal Music Sweden explained in a press release.
Naturally, no one is discussing the dark underside of these “new opportunities” on social media. In recent months, the obsessive online fan communities around bands like Justin Bieber and One Direction have been blamed for aiming thousands of death threats at the musicians’ critics and girlfriends, as well as apparently encouraging the #CutforBieber prank that encouraged teenage girls to cut themselves until Bieber stopped smoking.
If nothing else, Avicii’s project may demonstrate that social Web communities can also be leveraged for good. Fans have already begun posting screenshots of their audio-editing programs and tweets about their progress. One recent tweet -- “World collaboration!!! W00t!!!” -- sums up the general sentiment.