I think it is fantastic when creative people, who have been traditionally forced by scarcity of distribution and BIG media stranglehold on markets to play by others rules, start to forge their own future regardless of corporations. Known as the Queen of the Indies in the UK (thanks Paul Bennun for that label) Imogen Heap is showing how professional music may be made in the future.

I have been tracking her rise to ‘social music making’ stardom since she was at the BRIT School back in 1993 and I was her class tutor and studio production teacher. She was one of a handful of young and talented individuals lucky enough to get the backing of the establishment, Record Industry Trust, in this ‘fame’ school. Since then she has sold millions of albums, done soundtracks on Narnia, Shrek, Golden State etc and is now constructing her 3rd solo album (the 2nd was as a duo called Frou Frou) in the gaze of her adoring fans in YouTube vlogs.

She is up to episode 26 with many getting 30-40k view but more importantly gets 200-300 comments per post. Imogen is now into the actual music creation block (after quite a few of the early vlogs being about her building a new studio) and I was inspired to write this post because of the opening sequence episode 26 which shone out like a blinding light. We suddenly have the inklings of collaboration with the fans during the actual conception of the songs – Imogen actually is reading and responding to comments received via YouTube or privately.

OK this has happened before with TV/Film and music but what may seem to some to be a small change to the song based on a few passing comments has enormous implications for the way ‘higher production value’ brands and products should be thinking about its relationship with consumers – here is a live, real time incarnation of that. Imogen changing the product based on wisdom of the crowds input.

I encourage you to track Imogen as this album is created in the next few months leading up to the sale at the end of the year. It really is a very useful model of the way ‘producers’ of any content should be engaging with its audience. Don’t you think? Letters on a post card to this address…:)