In an effort to “show how record companies are becoming superfluous to building buzz and distributing music” (according to a release), Ben Folds, OK Go’s Damian Kulash, Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer and author Neil Gaiman plan to write and record eight songs in eight hours at Berklee College of Music on Monday.
The group of artists will release the album during Rethink Music, a music conference presented by Berklee and MIDEM, in association with Harvard University’s Berkman Center and Business School, which takes place in Boston next week.
This experiment is sure to have some interesting results. Ben Folds and Amanda Palmer are well-known for their tech-savvy goings-ons, and Kulash’s band split from EMI the other year to start its own label (following controversy over whether its viral videos should be embeddable on YouTube). Gaiman, Palmer’s husband, has also been rather active in the online sphere, and, well, he’s just generally a talented writer.
Still, something about that line in the announcement is niggling — “show how record companies are becoming superfluous to building buzz and distributing music” — when paired with these artists. From Folds to Gaiman, everyone here is a veteran in his or her field. In fact, a lot of the musicians who are tapping into the web to create buzz (at least in a big way) are established: from Weezer to Arcade Fire to Trent Reznor to Radiohead. (Even though OK Go may have split from the majors, it’s not as if being on EMI in the past had no effect on the band’s current fame.)
Yes, there are a ton of bands out there who — although unsigned and flying solo — have made a way for themselves, but this experiment is not exactly supporting that theory.
What do you think? Do you think there’s a future on the horizon where bands can do it for themselves, outside of the confines of a label? Or do you think musicians require some aid when it comes to building buzz?
Photo courtesy of Flickr, Finding Josephine