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Avicii outsources a new single to fans

January 10, 2013|By August Brown
  • Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, here at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, has an offer for fans.
Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, here at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium,… (Patrick T. Fallon / For The…)

The Swedish producer Avicii (also known as Tim Bergling) is best known for sampling Etta James on his world-crushing single "Le7els." But his next batch of source material might be slightly more obscure. 

For a new single, he's put out on open call for fans to submit instrumental tracks that he'll "executive produce" into a full song. "Avicii x You" creates a whole platform for fans to upload, vote on and share their original stem tracks for "Melody, Bassline, Beat & Rhythm, Break or Effects."

Every week, Bergling will pick from the top vote-getters and use the files to arrange a new track set for a Feb. 26 release, while fans can earn prizes ranging from merch up to formal album credits and interviews as part of the song's mainstream press push. 

To his credit, this "Avicii x You" project is pretty refined in its one-off collaborative mission and isn't the same as, say, Amanda Palmer's plan to use unpaid backup musicians  on a tour. Bergling is donating all royalties from the tune to his House for Hunger charity.

Electronic music is built on sampling other artists' original material (which, in its way, is kind of an involuntary crowd-sourcing), and artists ranging from Matthew Herbert to 30 Seconds to Mars have used fan-submission projects on their albums as goodwill gestures and PR conversation-starters.

But one wonders if this tactic might, in a less charitable setting, become an artist's shortcut to new material. If DJ Khaled can give himself top credit for a single such as  "I'm on One" despite not singing, rapping or producing on it, and only contributing ad-libs as one of eight co-writers, where does the line between performance and curation have to be drawn?

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