Imogen Heap On How Musicians Can Thrive In A Technology-Driven World
Last month, the Recording Academy's San Francisco chapter got up close and personal with GRAMMY-winning British singer and musician Imogen Heap, British composer, songwriter and producer Guy Sigsworth and composer and musician Zoë Keating for a talk about technology in music.
Heap, an advocate for musician rights, has embraced technology not only when creating music, but also as a tool for making the music industry a safer place for artists in a digital-facing world. With her Creative Passport project, she hopes to connect music makers "through a verified and decentralised ecosystem, promoting artist-led, fair and sustainable operating practices."
One of the ways the project hopes to protect music makers is by establishing a way to give them proper credit, digitally.
"I was just getting frustrated at the fact that I was going to release another song into the ether, it was basically going to fall off a cliff and I wouldn't know what was happening to it and I wouldnt be able to kind of, arm it or give it all the tools and the tricks that it needs to go and do the business that it needs, to make sure everybody is acknowledged, to make sure everyone gets paid properly, to make sure that it has the correct lyrics or whatever it might need," she said. "It's so frsutarting that that doesn't exist with the song in a form that is then accessed by everyone."
Keating, who introduced Heap to the blockchain technology used in some of the Creative Passport projects, said it's important to keep musicians in the conversations about technology.
"Musicians should not be left out this time ... the technology gets developed and the musicians have to figure out how to react to it and I was like 'Wouldn't it be a great this time if musicians were there at the beginning?" she said.
When it comes to the challenges technology brings, Sigsworth says he thinks the issues will stay the same as time progresses: "I think the problems will be the same whatever the technology does. I sometimes fear that when the technology gets better and better at realizing your ideas, it'll be more apparent that your ideas suck."
Before the conversation came to a close, Heap showed the audience the technology in her proprietary electronic instrument—mimu gloves—whose technology can be recreated in one of the many Creative Passport workshops.