British art-pop singer-songwriter Imogen Heap has signed a worldwide agreement with Downtown Music Publishing, as both parties to the deal explore new ways of administering royalties for all songwriters and artists.
Heap, a Grammy- and Ivor Novello-winning solo artist who was a co-writer and producer on Taylor Swift‘s 1989, released a new track, “Tiny Human,” on Oct. 2 using blockchain technology. She’s also at work on a “fair trade” music distribution and payment system that she calls Mycelia.
The non-exclusive deal with Downtown covers Heap’s portion of Swift’s 1989 finale “Clean,” plus five songs from Heap’s 2014 album, Sparks: “The Beast,” “Entanglement,” “Climb to Sakteng,” “Run-Time” and “Cycle Song.”
Heap says she discussed her ideas for Mycelia with president Justin Kalifowitz about a year-and-a-half ago and liked the company’s flexibility, especially when it comes to new technologies. “It’s really a great opportunity to work with a forward-thinking publishing company when the future is so wide open at the moment,” she tells Billboard.
Joe Conyers III, vp technology at Downtown, says the company has been advising Heap on the publishing side of the business as she develops Mycelia. “She is a true engineer,” he tells Billboard. “It’s great to partner with somebody like that, who’s really going to be a builder with us. That’s the spirit of this.”
Heap’s plans for the music industry go beyond just one publishing deal. She spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt on Dec. 8 in London, and she tells Billboard she’ll be participating in a question-and-answer event at London’s Somerset House on Jan. 26. She says she’s also coordinating a “huge hack event” at Somerset House in March, where representatives from various tech groups will work on potential ways of realizing Mycelia.
“This is where we’re going to really get blockchain going,” Heap explains.
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