Imogen Heap
Imogen Heap talks about her plans involving music on blockchains  (Getty Images)

The musician and technologist Imogen Heap is shaping an event in London next month to bring artists together with technology developers, where she plans to release a new single, via a live performance, onto the blockchain.

Ms Heap is a staunch advocate of new technology, including distributed ledgers which she describes as "a fairtrade for music".

The composer, performer, technologist and inventor is the only female artist to have ever won a Grammy for engineering.

She told IBTimes about her Mycelia project to distribute and connect music and an event she is planning to be held in London at the end of September.

"On the first evening (of two), I'd like to release into the wild my latest song 'Tiny Human' by way of a recorded live performance. Once recorded, it's there, available for the various platforms and databases to hack away and show us what they can do.

"24 hours later we see what's happened to the song and its metadata. I think seeing lots of platforms all together will really open up some very lively debate and hopefully push things forward.

"The second evening we get some of the voices in tech and artists together to hash it out in front of a live audience and open it up as a Q&A in the venue and online."

Ms Heap believes a summit is in order; she also thinks it's time to bring the artists centre stage in the discussions, "rather than always in the audience at such events! To share their stories and wishes to help enable developers to build a sustainable, beautiful, evolving home for music. Past, present and future."

"There are lots of these type of events popping up but the artists' voice is oddly lacking! I feel the need to create the core together, artist and tech minds, so that the iTunes, Spotify and Youtube of the future can latch onto it. It just seems like the right way around!" she added.

She had made it clear the current options on how to release Tiny Human had "filled her with dread" and would be "adding to my gripes rather than moving anything forward".

The solution is to upload the freshly recorded music verified and time-stamped onto a blockchain.

Regarding the complex, opaque and proprietary world of music ownership she said: "All that nasty stuff will be a thing of the past one day and we'll look back at these backward times for artist and musicians in disbelief so many got away with it for so long."

"For many years I've been dreaming of a music industry, turning onto its feet. Putting the music and with it the makers, first rather than at the end of the food chain.

"It seems crazy that music, such a core to all of our lives, leaves the artists who passionately beaver away at creating it, so shortchanged.

"A fair trade for music is desperately needed. Transparency. Cut out the middlemen. The tech is here and everyone's talking about it.

"We have reached a tipping point it feels and we are going to see many platforms rising from the soon to be ashes of the industry as we know it.

"This desperately needs to happen to sustain music makers of the future."

The singer is looking at a number of technologies including audiocoin, the Alexandria Project as well as some other well-known bitcoin 2.0 systems.

She said: "So far I've seen lots of really interesting platforms and tools but nothing is really that integrated.

"We need to define protocols, with artists, so we can build these places like lego onto a global database. A grand library treasured and nurtured. Not owned by one company but by everyone who uses it."

Ms Heap's Mycelia project is named after and inspired by the largest living organism in the world, which stretches beneath our very feet for tens of kilometres at a time. It is the working idea space involving blockchain technologies.

"In Mycelia, this is the grand library of all music. Each spore (piece of music) is uploaded and verified by the artist, denoting the splits and connecting all metadata to that song (from instruments played to where you wrote the lyrics).

"Movement of that Spore credits the digital wallets of the creators. Services (or Mushrooms) use the music/files/data and the artist pays them a percentage for that service. Those which are useful... open, dynamic will grow stronger and those which are taxing, closed and clunky wither and die... as they do in nature.

"So many facets to the industry all currently very separate. In mycelia, everything interconnects and feeds back. Empowering the artist and the listener to create and discover in currently impossible ways.

"I wanted to as an artist, share my take on what I believe the future for us could look like in the hope that developers and coders out there, would maybe have a read! So often, platforms get built without any artists on the team.

"It knocked me over the head when I put two and two together and I think (and am obviously not alone), music is really where we'll start to see the technology come to life."