Xerxes' Atlas - The world's first wiki-musical


Creation by Collaboration Test

We're doing a test run of creation by collaboration right now. To prove to the world that this works, we ask you to help us create a scene from the musical. We want to choose one song from the submissions made and from that song, one choreography done a similar way. We'll provide the script and the song briefs. Click here to check out the framework and hear how it's going.



Auckland Team Working on World’s First Wiki-Musical 14-Jun-2010

Media Release - EMBARGOED UNTIL 23 June 2010 AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A team from Auckland is working on the world’s first wiki-musical called Xerxes’ Atlas which is set to premier on..

Street Teams Launched 16-Dec-2009

Does our project spark or pique your interest? Do you believe in our vision of building a better world, collective ownership, collaboration, ingenuity and innovation, sharing and giving? If there was ..

1st Board meeting 04-Dec-2009

I was buzzing after our first board meeting. It's clear that we have some highly skilled people on our team united in our vision to facilitate something greater than ourselves. Each person has highly ..

Info Sessions a Success! 19-Nov-2009

A selected handful of people attended the information sessions on Thursday 12th of November at TAPAC. Interesting to see the type of people that attended the early breakfast as opposed to the evening ..

Grass-roots Information Series 01-Oct-2009

For those interested by the concept of XA we're holding two information seminars. Find out how you can be involved in this innovative new project. Breakfast/ Dinner will be on us and Jade Wood, found..


  1. The under-appreicated first follower is really a leader Jade Wood 30-Aug-2011
  2. I meet the father of Creative Commons Jade Wood 30-Jun-2011
  3. Confused by Briefs, Projects, Submissions, Tracks? Terminology explained Jade Wood 25-Mar-2011
  4. First Newspaper article Jade Wood 20-Mar-2011
  5. World's first wikimusical ready for contributors Jade Wood 02-Mar-2011
  6. American Radio Interview: Listen here Jade Wood 23-Feb-2011

All Xerxes' Atlas blog posts




The under-appreicated first follower is really a leader

Jade Wood - Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I meet the father of Creative Commons

Jade Wood - Thursday, June 30, 2011
I have just come back from NetHui, a gathering of people who are interested in the future of the Internet in New Zealand. It's been pretty good - for me the people there are probably a bit more interesting than the topics although I am certainly learning things! Cudos to InternetNZ for making it accessible (read cheap tickets) to everyone.

There's been one person I've been looking forward to meeting ever since I heard he was going to be there: Lawrence Lessig - the father of Creative Commons. Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand held a meetup this evening I got to hear of a number of projects and organisations that could be a good fit with this project. I had no idea that MusicHype was started in New Zealand for example. I just met the Chairman who lives in Wellington. I didn't get to chat to the guy from People in Your Neighbourhood, but he's done similar things in years gone by in terms of collaborative music creation backed by the British Council.

But Lawrence Lessig was the highlight. He's a pleasant and encouraging and unassuming man that takes an interest in projects no matter how small. His little spectacles top him off as a professor. This guy just ooses intelligence. He seemed genuinely interested in the wikimusical project, writing the URL in his iPhone for later. He then went on to tweet about it to his 150,000+ followers. Awesome.

Really looking forward to his keynote tomorrow morning.

Confused by Briefs, Projects, Submissions, Tracks? Terminology explained

Jade Wood - Friday, March 25, 2011
image by Horia VarlanThere's few terms you need to understand so that we all don't get confused.


This is the information we give to let you know what we're after and to inspire your composition

Submission or Project

An area of workspace based on one of the song briefs where people have added tracks. Perhaps they've added a drum track already but the rest of the parts haven't been written yet. You could add your track to the project even if you didn't start it. For each brief there could be many projects.


A track is a recording. It could be of anything, a drum track, a piano or perhaps a mixdown track. There may be many tracks in a project. Using your recording software or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) you can put all these tracks together to form a complete track which is known as a mixdown. Haven't got a DAW? Check out www.reaper.fm

So to start out check out the song briefs and go from there.

Image by Horia Varlan

First Newspaper article

Jade Wood - Sunday, March 20, 2011
The intricately decorated foyer of the Civic Theatre is all gold columns, elephants and soft lighting. Jade Wood nods appreciatively. This is just the setting in which he would like to see his musical, Xerxes' Atlas, performed.

"I'd love the premiere to be here," he says. "I think it would be awesome. This is very much the theme - Persian."

But Xerxes' Atlas is not really Mr Wood's musical. The 28-year-old has set the ball rolling but needs global collaboration to complete the work.

See the full article here

Thanks to Sophie Bond for covering this story.

World's first wikimusical ready for contributors

Jade Wood - Wednesday, March 02, 2011
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -  The Xerxes’ Atlas team in Auckland have today announced they’re ready for contributors to the world’s first wikimusical.

Like the jet boat, the bungee jump, and even the humble pineapple lump; this is a true New Zealand invention. ‘Xerxes’ Atlas’, the world’s first wikimusical, aims to re-connect the theatre with young people through the power of the internet as a tool for collaboration.

The term 'wiki' - like 'open source' – usually refers to a website or free software designed for multiple people to collaborate by adding and editing content. For Xerxes’ Atlas this means anyone with internet access from around the world can contribute.

Chairwomen of the Xerxes’ Atlas Board, Bridget Marsh, said “declining theatre numbers, especially among younger generations, is a very real threat to the industry. We’re reaching out to a younger audience by developing a musical that connects with them through the internet and social media.”

Xerxes’ Atlas is about community and collaboration on a scale not seen in modern times in theatre,” said 28-year old creator and Board member Jade Wood. “It means anyone with internet access from around the world can contribute the music, lyrics and even choreography.”

“People can visit the website right now to read the song briefs and hear others’ contributions,” says Wood, “bringing together creative people from all around the world.”

Marsh is former Head of Performing and Screen Arts at UNITEC while entrepreneur Wood has a background in website development. Other members of the team include Business analyst Chad Carter and Lawyer and Documentary Edge Film Festival Organiser Alex Lee.

Information about Xerxes’ Atlas is accessible online. Read more on their website wikimusical.com or alternatively, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

American Radio Interview: Listen here

Jade Wood - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
When you have an interesting idea, it becomes easier to get it out there because media want to find interesting stories to tell. This was my first radio interview on XA, and I admit that it wasn't my best work.. It all comes down to experience!

The show aired in California and Colorado.

Boomer Alley Radio Interview Boomer Alley Radio Interview (5162 KB)

Hear the full show here

Free: The Future of a Radical Price

Jade Wood - Monday, February 14, 2011

After reading the disappointed reviews for wikinomics, a book that I blogged about earlier, I found some other links that other readers recommended. Namely this book Free - The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. He was also the author of the Long Tail. A concept which I've read and blogged about but didn't realise there was a book that went with it. Maybe that's the next thing I'll read. The book is very comprehensive and gives a decent job of comparing both sides of the 'Free' coin which was one of the complaints readers had with wikinomics - it was too one sided.

I have just finished listening to the audio and didn't really want to type out what I think is a good summary of the main ideas in the book. A quick google search found me a site that has the abridged version of the book online for you to read or download.


1. If it’s digital, sooner or later it’s going to be free.

In a competitive market, price falls to the marginal cost. The Internet is the most competitive market the world has ever seen, and the marginal costs of the technologies on which it runs—processing, bandwidth, and storage—get closer and closer to zero every year. Free becomes not just an option but an inevitability. Bits want to be free.

2. Atoms would like to be free, too, but they’re not so pushy about it.

Outside of the digital realm, marginal costs rarely fall to zero. But Free is so psychologically attractive that marketers will always find ways to invoke it by redefining their business to make some things free while selling others. It’s not really free—it’s probably you paying sooner or later—but it’s often compelling all the same. Today, by creatively expanding the definition of their industry, companies from airlines to cars have found ways to make their core product free by selling something else.

3. You can’t stop Free.

In the digital realm you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win. What that means is that if the only thing stopping your product from being free is a secret code or a scary warning, you can be sure that there’s someone out there who will defeat it. Take Free back from the pirates, and sell upgrades.

4. You can make money from Free.

People will pay to save time. People will pay to lower risk. People will pay for things they love. People will pay for status. People will pay if you make them (once they’re hooked). There are countless ways to make money around Free (I list fifty of them at the end of the book). Free opens doors, reaching new consumers. It doesn’t mean you can’t charge some of them.

5. Redefine your market.

Ryanair’s competitors were in the airline seat business. It decided to be in the travel business instead. The difference: There are dozens of ways to make money in travel, from car rentals to subsidies from destinations hungry for tourists. The airline made its seats cheap, even free, to make more money around them.

6. Round down.

If the cost of something is heading to zero, Free is just a matter of when, not if. Why not get there first, before someone else does? The first to Free gets attention, and there are always ways to turn that into money. What can you make free today?

7. Sooner or later you will compete with Free.

Whether through cross-subsidies or software, somebody in your business is going to find a way to give away what you charge for. It may not be exactly the same thing, but the price discount of 100 percent may matter more. Your choice: Match that price and sell something else, or ensure that the differences in quality overcome the differences in price.

8. Embrace waste.

If something is becoming too cheap to meter, stop metering it. From having flat fees to no fees, the most innovative companies are those who see which way the pricing trends are going and get ahead of them. “Your voice mail inbox is full” is the death rattle of an industry stuck with a scarcity model in a world of capacity abundance.

9. Free makes other things more valuable.

Every abundance creates a new scarcity. A hundred years ago entertainment was scarce and time plentiful; now it’s the reverse. When one product or service becomes free, value migrates to the next higher layer. Go there.

10. Manage for abundance, not scarcity.

Where resources are scarce, they are also expensive— you have to be careful how you use them. Thus traditional top- down management, which is all about control to avoid expensive mistakes. But when resources are cheap, you don’t have to manage the same way. As business functions become digital, they can also become more in dependent without risk of sinking the mothership. Company culture can shift from “Don’t screw up” to “Fail fast.”

Wikinomics - How mass collaboration changes everything

Jade Wood - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Courtesy of World Vision I attended a guest lecture by Andrew Jones a kiwi (New Zealander) who travels around the world in a truck with his family as blogs as he goes. He's a bit of a guru on social media so I went along to see if I could learn anything. And I did - he talked briefly about something I hadn't heard of before so I took a note and have just looked it up. It's a book call Wikinomics. In fact there's a further book now called Macrowikinomics.

From wikipedia:
It (Macrowikinomics) explores how some companies in the early 21st century have used mass collaboration (also called peer production) and open-source technology, such as wikis, to be successful. According to Tapscott, Wikinomics is based on four ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally. The use of mass collaboration in a business environment, in recent history, can be seen as an extension of the trend in business to outsource: externalize formerly internal business functions to other business entities. The difference however is that instead of an organized business body brought into being specifically for a unique function, mass collaboration relies on free individual agents to come together and cooperate to improve a given operation or solve a problem. This kind of outsourcing is also referred to as crowdsourcing, to reflect this difference. This can be incentivized by a reward system, though it is not required.

So I'll be buying the book and I'll give you my review when I finish. For the meantime here's an interview of Don Tapscott:

UPDATE: looks like the reviews on Amazon are a bit depressing, so maybe I won't read it.. Seems like the book is really long and convoluted. Perhaps best to read the wikipedia entry and watch the videos.

QR code T-shirts now available

Jade Wood - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
It had to happen sooner or later. Yes, we're selling t-shirts. Geeky-cool QR code ones too. I just received a box of t-shirts in the mail with my wife's small fitted T.

Luckily for you I'm not a small so here's me modelling the t-shirt. Some of you will instantly get it and will be reaching for your phones. If you don't get it, not to worry.

What I'm wearing is a QR code.

It's like a glorified bar-code and all the information that the creator wants is contained INSIDE that image. At first I thought scanners read the code and then had to match it up with some kind of online database to give you the information. I was wrong.

So the message that the users get when they scan the image is :
http://wikimusical.com/XA-musical/QR The world's first wikimusical! Want to help write the songs and choreography for a Hip-hop / Pop musical? Check out the link above and check out the progress
If you have a smart phone (iPhone / Andriod etc) You should be able to download from the relevant App store a free barcode scanner. You use the scanner program to read the image (or any other image like it) and voila!, you get a message.

It's something all the cool kids are into.

You won't be able to read my t-shirt because the QR isn't  completely showing. If you want to test out the whole thing here it is:


Xerxes' Atlas Creative Summit

Aaron Humphrey - Friday, February 04, 2011

About a week ago most of the Xerxes' Atlas team met for a drinks and nibbles night in Auckland, which was something of a creative summit about the project.  We invited a bunch of smart and talented people were able to pick their brains regarding our project to see what was working, what wasn't and try to find areas that we could expand into.  

While not as many people showed up as we expected, that turned out to be a good thing because we got some really quality feedback and had a great discussion going that might not have been possible with a larger group.  

One important distinction to come out of the meeting was the idea of the difference between product and process, and whether a finished theatrical production was the final product for us, or whether the actual PROCESS of developing a wikimusical is the product.  

Producing and premiering a new musical is a pretty massive undertaking, and it would take a lot of funding to be able to do it properly.  However, what makes this project interesting is not that it's a NEW musical, but that it's an OPEN SOURCE musical, or a WIKIMUSICAL.  I think we came to realise that in order to complete the project we don't have to mount the production ourselves, but develop the tools and resources for other people to produce their own versions of it.

Jade's unique vision is for a musical that can easily be changed and adapted for each production, and where open collaboration is a central part of the creative process.  In focusing just on that aspect, as well as reaching out to groups that might be interested in eventually producing XA, we'll be able to use our resources better and hopefully be a  bit more efficient.

All of this came out of the meeting last week, and while it's changed the parameters of the project a bit, we're very excited about this evolution.  So as far as we're concerned, the meeting was a big success and I'm sure you'll hear more about our new direction in the coming weeks.



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