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Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds to create album in eight hours

on April 08, 2011, 12:10pm

During the last week of April, Boston’s Berklee College of Music will hold the Rethink Music conference at the Hynes Convention Center. The goal of the conference is “to foster creativity and a thriving music industry” by giving space for conversation about the music business in the digital era. They also seek “to formulate ideas for the creation and distribution of new music and other creative works,” and they have one hell of an example lined up.

On April 25th, Amanda Palmer of Bostonian cabaret band The Dresden Dolls, Ben Folds, Ok Go‘s Damian Kulash, and author Neil Gaiman (The Sandman series, Good Omens) will be locked in a studio between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight. They’ll be tasked with creating an eight-song effort that will debut just 10 hours later at a special presentation. Nine hours after that, they’ll take the stage to perform the material for Rethink Music conference registrants. The concert will also feature Basia Bulat and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.

As wild as that sounds, keep in mind that conference is focusing on the digital era, and that means Twitter. “The four of us are creative internet addicts with our own huge Twitter circles,” says Palmer. “This project is exciting as it will give us the opportunity to collide our circles.”

The idea is more than a giant collaboration; it’s a way of exemplifying the growing lack of necessity for record companies in terms of distribution and buzz. Explains Kulash, “If the recording industry is supposed to be a means of connecting musicians to music listeners, well, then, here it is – spontaneous and circular.” Bypassing the middle man, this project not only allows audiences almost instant access to the music, it gives them a presence in the actual creation.

In order to attend the presentation and/or concert, you must be registered for the April 25th-27th Rethink Music conference. With plenty of panels and presentations in addition to this experiment, the $795 ($245 for “qualified students and working musicians”) registration fee seems . . . reasonable? For those who can’t afford attendance, have no fear; the whole collaboration will be streamed live from the studio at rethink-music.com. The album will be released on Bandcamp.com, with the proceeds from the first week of downloads going to Berklee City Music, providing free music education to underprivileged teens. Head over to the conference’s website for all the details.

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