Imogen Heap is crowdsourcing your sounds for new album

On: March 14, 2011
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About Janice Wong
Janice Wong is an Australian-born cellist and digital media fanatic living the life in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). She graduated from the Masters of New Media programme at the University of Amsterdam in 2011 and worked at adidas as a Global Social Media Manager until 2017. She is now a Music Producer & Cellist based in Amsterdam. Contact: janice[at]


Imogen Heap, two-time grammy award nominee and known for her innovative online practices to connect with her fans, has just kicked off her fourth studio album with sounds from her fans, called ‘seeds’.

Last year in 2010, Heap engaged with cellists online and auditioned them for her US, European and Australasian tour (see my performance with Imogen here!). Another project in which Heap wrote the film score, called Love The Earth Film received more than 1000 video submissions from 100 different filmakers worldwide. Participation and crowdsourcing has been a way to keep her 1.5million twitter fans (and many more offline) interested and coming back for more.

The first song temporarily called HeapSong1, of the new album (which will take approximately three years to finish in total, with every single being released on completion), has attracted 327 sound snippets uploaded to SoundCloud in which Imogen reviews and comments live through online streaming site Ustream.TV.

Imogen Heap - heapsong1 on Ustream

Through the submissions, so far, she has decided for the key of C#minor, and saved sounds of swans, ball on a bat and this track ukulelegranulate.mp3 (below) by rdponto as the key scene-setter for the track.

There is still one more session of live streaming that will take place today, and fourteen more days of composing, reviewing, writing, blogging, chatting before the release of this first track.

New media technology makes this all possible and it is interesting which artists embrace the power of social media. It’s an exciting time for musicians and fans alike. This collaboration, so-called co-creative labour (see the work of Banks & Deuze) through digital means has been instrumental in transforming relationships between artist-fan. Artists like Imogen Heap more easily reach out and connect with fans, and fans have more input and more of a voice than they did previously.

This is a topic I am currently researching for my Master thesis, so please feel free to comment if you have further insights on co-creative labour, participatory cultures and crowdsourcing.

And watch this space (or Imogen Heap’s space to see how this new adventure unravels.

9 Responses to “Imogen Heap is crowdsourcing your sounds for new album”
  • March 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Good luck with the thesis. I’d be interested to read it! If you would like an interview after release I’d be very happy to do a phone interview or meet up in London (if you’re in UK). Xx please email me :)

  • March 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks Imogen. Thesis is still also at the ‘seed’ stage and the making of your new album is great timing for my research! Will be in touch and thanks again for your support. X

  • March 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Janice, Maroon 5 also announced doing a crowdsourcing project (in collaboration with Coca Cola). Check out

  • March 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks Lieke, will check it out. When I see the name Coca-Cola it suddenly makes me shift thoughts to: Marketing plot? Nevertheless also very interesting…

  • March 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

    […] je hierover meer weten, lees dan hier de Engelse omschrijving van Janice op de Masters of Media site. Het toffe weblog van mijn ex-studiegenoten van Nieuwe Media & Digitale […]

  • April 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    […] she would begin including the talents of her fans in her music. The Masters of Media article “Imogen Heap is Crowdsourcing Your Sounds for New Album,” discusses how the singles were crowdsourced: “The first song temporarily […]

  • August 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    […] to regret using the word ‘crowdsourcing’ because of the topic of my Master thesis (see this blog post for an idea) and its implications of authenticity and being a marketing plot. Well, I looked at the […]

  • September 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    […] wrote about the changing relationship between artists and their fans through digital networks using Imogen Heap as a case study (full summary blog post soon…). Alongside Moby, Hot Chip and Lykke Li, […]

  • October 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Wow! Great initiative. I already knew your music a while back. It’s very unravelling exciting music. I love it. One minute ago, I saw you speaking in a SoundCloud video about sound and this minute, I ended up here because of the word “crowdsourcing” that I was googling. Interesting concept! Are you still accepting sounds? :—) Would be awesome to participate. Kind greetings from Belgium, Yordi.

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