Knife Party, courtesy of getty images
Knife Party, courtesy of getty images

11 Electronic Musicians Who Collaborate With Fans in Unique Ways

Knife Party, courtesy of getty images
Knife Party, courtesy of getty images

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.

3. Avicii

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."

4. Noisia

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. 

7. Deadmau5

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.

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Your Library Has a Free Music Service That You Probably Didn't Know About
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iStock

Did you know that you can download free music from your local library? Music that you can keep. That's right: not borrow, keep.

It's all possible thanks to a service called Freegal (a portmanteau of free and legal), which gives patrons of participating libraries access to 15 million songs from 40,000 labels, notably including the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. All you need is a library card.

Here's how it works: You can download a few songs a week, and, in many areas, enjoy several hours of streaming, too (the precise number of songs and hours of streaming varies by library). Once you download MP3 files, they're yours. You're free to put them on iTunes, your iPhone, your tablet, and more. You don't have to return them and they don't expire. The counter resets on Mondays at 12:01 a.m. Central Time, so if you hit your limit, you won't have long to wait before you get more downloads. And Freegal has some great stuff: A quick scan of the front page reveals music from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cardi B, Simon & Garfunkel, Childish Gambino, The Avett Brothers, Lykke Li, and Sara Bareilles.

Freegal has been around since 2010 and is offered at libraries worldwide. In the U.S., that includes the New York Public Library, Queens Library, Los Angeles Public Library, West Chicago Public Library, Houston Public Library, and more. In the past few years, libraries have debuted some other amazing free digital services, from classic films streaming on Kanopy to audiobooks and e-books available to borrow on SimplyE and OverDrive. But the thing that's so exciting about Freegal is that you can keep the MP3 files, unlike services that limit you to borrowing.

Freegal's site is easy to navigate: You can browse playlists and make your own, check out the most popular tunes, and save songs to your wishlist for when you get more credits. In the old days, music fans would check out CDs from the library and upload them onto their computers before returning them. But Freegal eliminates the need to go to your local branch, check out an album, and bring it back when you're done.

Freegal app
Freegal

To find out if your local library has Freegal, go to freegalmusic.com and click login, then search for your area. It's important to note: Your library's contract might not have both streaming and downloading privileges. You can use Freegal on the web or as an app available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. Of course, the service doesn't have everything. And sometimes, when it does have an artist, it will only have a few of their most popular albums. But if you frequently buy music on iTunes or elsewhere, checking Freegal first may save you a bit of money.

If you don't yet have a library card, Freegal is just one more reason why you should get one ASAP.

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An Anthology Series Based on Dolly Parton's Songs Is Coming to Netflix
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Though she may be best known for her music career, Dolly Parton is a Hollywood powerhouse. In addition to starring in more than a few contemporary classics, from 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias, she's also been partly responsible for some of your favorite TV series. As part owner of Sandollar Entertainment, a film and television production company, she's been a silent figure behind shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, the queen of country music is preparing to return to the small screen once again—this time on Netflix.

The beloved singer is partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce an anthology series for Netflix, Engadget reports. Set to debut in 2019, each of the eight episodes will have a theme based on a song by Parton, who will serve as executive producer and singer-songwriter in addition to appearing in the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The list of songs hasn’t yet been released, but I Will Always Love You, Jolene, and The Bargain Store are among Parton’s greatest hits.

Parton previously worked with Warner Bros. to produce the made-for-television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (2015) and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (2016). She has also nearly finished the music for the upcoming film Dumplin'—based on a novel by Julie Murphy and starring Jennifer Aniston—and the soundtrack will be released via Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, according to Parton’s website.

[h/t Engadget]

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