With the rise of social media and digital technologies, the barriers between music creators and listeners is falling away rapidly. Catching up on this trend, multiple Grammy winner singer, bassist and composer Esperanza Spalding announced last year that she will be “going to the studio for three days with nothing prepared. It’s gonna be live-streamed on Facebook Live and for three days, during three days, we’re going to create, compose, write, record, produce, and finish and album in front of a live audience: you.”
So the idea was that when the three days is up, they would stop recording and also the broadcast would stop and that would be it. From that point on, they would not touch the record and send it to the listeners after mixing it. The release formats would be CD or an LP, and the there would only be 7,777 copies that could be pre-ordered.
Having such high level musical talent in the studio and exposing your entire process to your listeners is certainly is a big risk, because what if it does not work out? What if the songs are not as good or presentable? About this Esperanza says: “Having such limited time to write and record will also force us to rely on improvisation and first instinct. Not allowing us time to judge, second guess, question, or alter the initial hits of inspiration that drive the creation of each song.”
I came upon this project as I logged into Facebook one day and several of my friends have already started sharing the live feed. The livestream clocked 1.4 million views; those who stuck around watched Spalding put on 77 hour epic creative music clinic.
In the live feed, I also saw some of my favorite musicians including Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, and Lalah Hathaway, in the studio, working and recording together. Once the cameras started rolling, the audience could witness every second of their writing and recording process, including her eating and taking breaks to sleep in the studio. A monitor also captured and showed comments from the live audience, allowing them to participate in the creative process.
Another aspect of this project is also the limited edition release for the album. Since there were only 7777 copies available, all the copies (sold at 50$ for CD and 60$ for Vinyl) were immediately sold out when the pre-order was announced.
So to sum up, Exposure has been a successful project that takes the barriers down between creators and listeners. It is a move that creates further bond between the artist and the fans. Moreover, since it has an exclusive side to it, the artist could really know who her superfans are, because it is also a serious revenue source since each copy is sold for 50$. Overall, I think that Exposure is a project that we could draw many lessons from and I would love to see more projects like this in the future.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com