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Forbes Ideasicle Podcast - Beck Hansen

Forbes Ideasicle Podcast - Beck Hansen

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Published by: forbesadmin on Dec 07, 2012
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datewhatwhobrought to you b
I’m Will Burns, CEO ofIdeasicleand ForbesContributor. Today I am very excited to bringyou a rock star with an amazing idea.Beck, aka Beck Hansen, is famous for hisunderground, anti-folk, yet alternative, yetdreamy, yet hook-driven, music. His first big-gie was the song “Loser,” way back in 1994.But his ability to understand and reach hisaudience just went cosmic, in my opinion.I’m in the idea business and Beck’s ideafloored me to the point where I wrote about iton Forbes.com, and it quickly got over150,000 hits. Beck has released a new al-bum, but it’s not a record, it’s not a CD, it’snot a series of MP3 files, it’s something waybetter. And he calls it “Song Reader.”We recorded our interview. But I was inspiredby the idea behind Song Reader, so, likeBeck, am issuing this Ideasicle “Podcast” inwritten form only. You will quickly understandwhy.Let’s get into the interview, which took placeat 4:00 EST on October 18, 2012.
Beck Hansen
Beck, welcome to the Ideasicle Podcast.
: Thank you.Well it’s great to have you. I have seenthe sampler of your new album, “SongReader.” But can you tell our listenerswhat Song Reader is in broad strokes?
It’s essentially a songbook. It’s a collec-tion of songs in notated form and sheet musicform. And the idea came about 15 years ago. Iwas sent a sheet music version of one of myfirst records and I was looking it over. The re-cord that I had recorded, I think it was Odelay,or maybe my first one, had not been conceivedwith sheet music in mind at all. You know, therewas a lot of experimentation, noises, screeches,feedback, you know, sound collage. So the ideaof notating it just seemed kind of backwards. SoI remember looking it over and thinking, youknow, it’s a shame that we’re trying to fit thesesongs into this notated form. It would probablymake more sense to do it the other way around.You know, where you write the songs for thebook. And so I had that idea sitting around foryears.I actually forgot about it for a long time, and thenabout ten years ago I was reading a book about jazz singers and jazz crooners, and they hadmentioned that a certain song in the 1930’s thatBing Crosby had popularized sold over 50 mil-lion copies of sheet music, in a time where therewas about 130 million people in the entire coun-try. And that number was just staggering to me.You know, the biggest phenomenon, musicalphenomenon, I had known in my life, wasmaybe Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and I thinkat the height it had sold maybe 15-20 millioncopies. So the complete, seemingly seismic,magnitude of the song “Sweet Leilani” was akind of a Hawaiian ballad that Bing Crosby
Ideasicle Podcast: The Beck Interview
 “The idea came about 15 years ago.

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