“An experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012,” the next record from Beck skips the actual recording step. Instead, publisher McSweeney’s says the December release will consist of sheet music for 20 songs, along with illustrations by artists including Marcel Dzama, all packaged in a hardcover carrying case. “Bringing [the songs] to life depends on you,” says McSweeney’s, but the publisher will also post renditions by readers and select musicians on its website.
While “so nineteenth century,” this “genius innovation” cleverly taps into several music and other trends. In our 2011 report “Things to Watch: Music Edition,” we noted that while the album lives on in the digital era, more artists will experiment with the format (e.g., Björk’s app album); meanwhile, “fans are becoming more intimately linked with artists than ever, serving as collaborators and sometimes driving projects.” At the same time, we’re Objectifying Objects (one of our 10 Trends for 2012), fetishizing physical things and turning them into elaborate collectibles. —Marian Berelowitz
Image credit: mcsweeneys.net