The Genomusic Project: BBC Collaborates With Its Facebook Fans For An Experimental Album

About the Genomusic Project by Mumbai based electronic music group 'Bay Beat Collective' where the band will create an experimental album from the DNA samples of its Facebook fans

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If you could be a track, which one would it be? I would probably be the ‘Lonely’ number by Akon, or maybe something more cheerful if I could. But, how can one literally be a track you wonder. The answer lies in your DNA! Read on.

A Mumbai based bass music band called Bay Beat Collective (BBC) is creating an experimental album from the DNA of its Facebook community, where each of the 8 tracks will be made out of individual fans’ DNA samples. The initiative has been christened ‘The Genomusic Project’ and it is also the world’s first music album created from fans’ DNA.

How it works is like this

A Facebook app  – ‘The Genomusic Project’ on the BBC page asks fans to submit a track name along with the name of the artist. From these, eight lucky fans will be shortlisted by BBC who will then receive DNA collecting kits through snail mail. The sterilised swabs provided in the kits need to be swiped on the inside of the cheeks and sent back to the address mentioned. The collected samples will then be sent to labs specialising in genetics to establish each DNA profile.

After the profile is collected, BBC will use a specially designed software to convert each DNA profile into a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) sample. The MIDI file will be finally converted to a track. So from eight DNA profiles, we will get eight MIDI files and from the MIDI files,  we will get the final Genomusic album of 8 tracks. Sounds interesting!

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The app welcomes you with a video by band member Kris who explains the entire process. As you can see in the screenshot, there are 2 boxes to enter track and artist name before you submit. You will then be asked to enter your name, email id and Twitter handle. That’s about it. In addition, the app provides for sharing on the Facebook timeline as well as your Twitter page.

Collaborating with fans

The Genomusic Project is the first of its kind in crowdsourcing initiatives from a Facebook community. We have heard about cover pages and community songs being sourced from fans, but who had heard about tracks being created from fans’ DNA, let alone tracks being created from anybody’s DNA! I, for one, am absolutely impressed with the concept and the manner in which it has been implemented for a Facebook community.

This is certain to spell the future of collaboration and building a relevant Facebook community for the long term. The Facebook app had already garnered around 1500 views at the time of writing this post. Besides cashing on the fans curiosity, BBC  will offer early bird prizes too  – first 50 answers will get a mobile ringtone created from their DNA. Besides, this unique project is being promoted on the band’s Twitter page as well, along with a bevy of interesting updates on its Facebook wall.

However, I would prefer to change 2 things in the app. Firstly, the auto-play video could be a user controlled one and secondly, the app could have taken my name and email during the authentication process.

Formed by Kris Correya and Sohail Arora in late 2008, BBC has been quite active on Facebook since then, but the fan base is at 3K only. The Genomusic Project is sure to revive it.

I’ve entered my track, have you entered yours?