Two Turntables And A Microphone Not Necessary

Leave it to a musician to show us the infinite possibilities in form, and in marketing.

You may have heard, Beck is releasing his new album as sheet music only. That’s correct, there will be no disc and no downloadable tracks. And Beck’s label for this project isn’t a label at all, it’s San Francisco publisher, McSweeney’s.

According to McSweeney’s, “Beck’s latest album comes in an almost-forgotten form—20 songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded.”

The package measures 9.5” x 12.5” with 108 pages comprising 20 individual full-color song booklets—18 featuring original lyrics, and 2 instrumentals—with covers from more than a dozen different artists.

“It’s more than an album. It’s an invitation,” writes Forbes contributor, Will Burns.

Anyone who takes a stab at producing these songs will pick up where Beck left off and promote the album for free. These songs will be everywhere.

It appears that Beck has figured out how to inspire the ultimate mashup and fuel a social object.

I wonder, is there an equivalent idea waiting to happen in our industry? An ad, or a product, that’s all idea and no execution?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.