Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Crowdsourcing: Radiohead's Latest Experiment

Crowdsourcing is an idea that has been gaining momentum as a key component of the evolving social web. (I previously wrote about it here.) Various attempts have been made within the political world, but none that execute on both sides of the coin.

Side #1 - User-generated Content: The most notable example of this is the YouTube debates last Fall. Users from around the country were encouraged to upload their questions for the candidates to YouTube. This was an interesting endeavor that has been mimiced in various ways since, such as Clinton's AskHillary project, among others. But, when it came to selecting questions, users were left out in the cold, which leads us to side #2...

Side #2 - Rank by Community: Users of the community review submissions and vote on them, Digg-style. The more votes a particular entry gets, the higher it appears in the rankings - i.e., the crowd decides what is emphasized.

A great example of both sides of the coin is Radiohead's latest Nude Re /Mix experiment. The band has made 4 different tracks available via iTunes - a voice track, guitar, strings and drums. Fans are encouraged to download the tracks via iTunes, and create their own mix of the song, and upload their versions to On the site, fans are also encouraged to vote on their favorite mix.

Thanks to Matt Dickman for the original thought. More from Matt:
This is a fantastic idea as a way to allow fans to get involved with the Radiohead brand, create something that is their own and join in a community of other, like minded fans. More companies, bands, products, teams, etc. need to look at this model as a way to create deeper engagement. Providing raw assets that can be used to create original, personal by-products could be powerful.
This is an interesting opportunity for Radiohead fans to participate in the music process, rather than just listen. Kinda has a democratic (note the small "d") ring to it, doesn't it...

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