Can you open source music? Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro wants to try. Though we’ve talked about “remixing” music for eons, Loureiro’s effort is the highest profile attempt that I can remember to open source music in a deep, concerted way. In fact, Loureiro is calling his new solo album Open Source, and not because he happened to think it sounded cool.
He seems to actually know what open source is all about.
I say “actually” because nothing in Loureiro’s background suggests he’s spent time in software. Loureiro, born in Brazil, started playing the guitar in earnest from the age of 11, and has worked as a musician all his life.
And yet, in an interview with Blabbermouth, Loureiro clearly understands how open source works in software: “By definition, ‘open source’ is related to softwares [in] which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. It brings us a higher sense of community, enhances our creativity and creates new possibilities.” Whatever the source of this knowledge, Loureiro is anxious to bring this same “higher sense of community” to music.
In the article, Loureiro says: “[W]hy not take this concept to our art, our music? How much richer a song could be if others had access to its source code? What if the song’s original composition wasn’t the final product? What if it was just the beginning? Something that could be constantly updated and evolve over time.”
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Of course, there was a time when music was very much an ongoing, community effort. It’s just that copyright got in the way, much like it has in software. And yet open source promises to return us to our roots. It’s already happening in software. It just might in music.
The start, not the end
Loureiro’s understanding of open source may be more well-developed than many of those who live in open source software. “My compositions and recordings are not the final objective of the album, but rather the start.” As an artist, perhaps Loureiro understands that there’s no such thing as an original creator–that we are all beneficiaries of others’ work, even if it’s merely an understanding of what they’ve done without using the code (or compositions).
Nor is it a zero-sum competition in Loureiro’s mind. Indeed, he says that he “expect[s] different approaches and better versions than mine” to result from others taking his works and improving upon them. This is absolutely the spirit of open source, though we’ve lost some of it over time as more and more money has poured in.
Loureiro’s project promises to bring back the community approach to making music. He’s well into an Indiegogo fundraiser to help raise the funds necessary to help him keep the project fully independent. If you have the musical ability and want to help create the next “Peace Sells” or “Symphony of Destruction,” well, now’s your chance.
Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views expressed herein (particularly my love of Megadeth) are my own.