Cincinnati’s Dessner brothers, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and others announce free DIY online music platform, PEOPLE

Beta version of the PEOPLE site launched last night and features collaborations and projects involving members of The National, Lisa Hannigan, Will Oldham and many others

Cincinnati’s Dessner brothers, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and others announce free DIY online music platform, PEOPLE
Photo: Provided

A new collective of musicians aiming “to create and share our work freely, with each other and everyone,” has launched an online music platform called PEOPLE. The group behind the project includes Cincinnati natives Bryce and Aaron Dessner (of The National) and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. PEOPLE was created out of a desire of the musicians to work outside of commercial interests and to forge a nurturing creative community.

Along with recorded music on the digital platform, PEOPLE will also include things like visual art, podcasts and essays. The press release announcement says 150 artists are involved, and “the audience is invited to become members.” The online project feels a bit like a digital streaming extension of Cincinnati's MusicNOW and Homecoming events, which are presented/hosted/curated by The National musicians.

Among the music currently available to stream on the PEOPLE platform are works by projects involving recent MusicNOW/Homecoming participants like Will Oldham and Eighth Blackbird, LANZ and Lisa Hannigan, plus other collaborative projects like Long Count (featuring the Dessners, The National singer Matt Berninger, Matthew Ritchie and Shara Nova) and Big Red Machine, which features the Dessners, Vernon and guests like Hannigan, Richard Reed Perry, Bryan Devendorf and many others. The site also includes “Songs Without Words,” a collection of “instrumental sketches” from The National’s recording sessions for the albums Boxer, High Violet, Trouble Will Find Me and Sleep Well Beast.

Take a look around at the participants who’ve contributed music so far here on the beta site; you can also stream PEOPLE radio through the site.

The PEOPLE artists will present a concert in Berlin this August to officially launch the project. Like MusicNOW, It will include new works, collaborations and more. The Berlin shows are “free of sponsorship or any commercial interest,” with ticket proceeds going towards staging costs. The idea for PEOPLE was sparked in Berlin in 2016 during a musical event hosted by the group’s other core co-founders, Nadine Michelberger and Tom Michelberger.

Here are parts of the mission statement from the PEOPLE site:

We are a steadily growing group of artists, freely creating and sharing our work with each other and everyone. We call it PEOPLE. It was born of a wish to establish an independent and nurturing space in which to make work (generally around music) that is collaborative, spontaneous and expressive in nature and where all unnecessary distractions or obstacles that get in the way are removed. PEOPLE is for the benefit and development of the artists involved and just as importantly, for those who would like to access and enjoy the output. It is as much about the process of making work and showing all that openly, as the final outcome.…

Building on this physical encounters, we want to create a place to evolve and share ideas around the year. That's why we are in the process of building our own digital platform where the music from recordings, sessions and live events as well as visual art, podcasts and essays can find a home. For all the raw, the unpackaged, the experiments and the evolved ideas. Just like the gathering, this too is an artist-lead, independent environment which uniquely offers the opportunity to the contributors to provide all the rich context to all their work that appears there. Everything is available for free, though the audience is invited to become contributing members from August on, when the platform officially launches during the PEOPLE gathering in Berlin.


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