Data is a dirty word nowadays. Mention you’re writing a story about it, and the assumption is that it will be a bad news story, packed with Russian operatives, shady corporate practices and a manipulated public. It’s a relief, then, to talk to musician Imogen Heap, and hear a more optimistic take on the topic.
In Heap’s vision, data and technology offers the opportunity for musicians – and in fact any maker of a creative product – to regain ownership of both their work and their ‘digital selves’. She was first inspired to think this way through the discovery of blockchain, within which she immediately saw the potential for a transformation of the music industry.
“The thing that blockchain’s done is basically inspired a new way of thinking,” she explains. “It’s inspired this idea that you can [have a] shared database or a shared history of events that everybody has consensus on. So this concept of opacity in the music industry disappears because you have to see the chain of events in order for a block to be added. That’s what for me was a massive turning point of technology that the music industry really, really needs in order for anyone to feel like they can trust others – trust people that they don’t know, and trust that they’re doing the right thing because it’s in-built in the system that we all use, and just takes away so much contractual rubbish and admin and all kinds of things.