Many people in the Spokane area may only vaguely remember Beck Hansen as the quirky singer-songwriter behind hits such as "Loser" or "Where It's At." He has stayed very busy over the years with several critically acclaimed albums and interesting side projects.
The book has been around for less than a month, and in that time the Pacific Northwest's own Portland Cello Project and many other artists have offered their own unique takes on the material.
Fran Berkman of Mashable revealed more details in an article published on Tuesday, January 8.
According to Berkman, Beck once again proved his creativity with his latest 'album,' titled Song Reader. Released on Dec. 11, the album is not a recorded compilation of tracks, but rather a book of sheet music for 20 songs he has composed over the past nine years.
"After releasing the sheet music, Beck put out an open call for people to record their interpretations of the songs — essentially crowd sourcing his own album via social media platforms.
"Anyone can submit a song in the form of a YouTube video or SoundCloud file. Most every song submitted appears on SongReader.net, which currently features more than 220 posted submissions."
The submissions on the official website are barely the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of videos featuring renditions of these songs are all over YouTube. On Monday, January 7, Will Burns of Forbes posted an update discussing the success of the ongoing project.
According to Burns, "... a search of 'Song Reader' on YouTube today yields 32,000 videos. Pretty amazing success story in the making here. Rock star releases album made only of sheet music, generates 32,000 user generated videos in one month. Not bad."
Musicians who would like to create their own videos should head to the Song Reader website and learn more about how to participate. Logging in with Facebook will redirect people to a Facebook app that will allow them to download the sheet music for a song from the collection called "Old Shanghai."
Over at BuzzFeed, Matt Putrino compiled 20 of his favorite performances of Beck's songs. His list features videos by Carl Barat of the Libertines, Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields and many other alternative musicians people in the greater Spokane area may be fans of already.
Spokane has many talented local musicians. Getting involved in this project may be a fun way for both professionals and amateurs to raise awareness of their own material, or simply challenge themselves to try something a little different. Who knows? Maybe somebody from the area will be the next one featured in a "best of" list.