The music industry seems to be cultivating forward momentum in a moment of much needed foresight. With all eyes on black lives, a new organization leads the charge for change.
The Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) was founded in alliance with #TheShowMustBePaused aka the organizers of what became #BlackoutTuesday. Originally intended as a day of reflection within the music industry, the June 2nd event inspired financial pledges from companies such as Spotify, Apple, and YouTube, artists, and major labels.
“One of our main motivations is not to allow the record companies to get away with pledging money and not pledging systemic change.” (Prophet, The New York Times)
In an open letter to music industry “Partners and Chief Executives,” BMAC requests a meeting with company representatives. Intended to facilitate partnership, the BMAC seeks to help allocate pledged anti-racist funding appropriately.
“It is essential that the funds are used to ensure that the music industry is focused on eradicating racial inequality in each company that sees profits as a result of Black culture.” (BMAC)
Dance music involvement with the coalition
Lead by an Executive Committee, any passionate music industry professional may join the coalition. Dance music members include Major Lazer, Marshmello, Tove Lo and many more.
Mainstay EDM vocalist Aluna spoke out about racial inequalities in the music industry this June after sharing her involvement with the BMAC.
It’s been so exciting talking about this coalition over the weekend and am happy to finally share it with you guys, this is just the beginning! Big changes in the industry are in our sights so stick with us while we get to work.
BLACK MUSIC MATTERS.
BLACK LIVES MATTER. pic.twitter.com/4TMpBfX3UM
— AlunaGeorge (@AlunaGeorge) June 22, 2020
In an interview with Billboard, Aluna cites her experience as an outsider in the UK dance music scene.
“It wasn’t until I found out about the true history of dance that I began to realize I shouldn’t have to feel that way, that I should feel very comfortable as a Black woman making dance music. Before that I never dreamed of making my own dance music because I couldn’t see a world where I would be performing it to faces like mine.” (Aluna, Billboard)
The long-term vibrations of progress
One-time pledges obviously won’t fix generations of racial oppression and appropriated wealth. Some small companies and individuals have stepped up to propose long-term solutions.
Teenage Engineering, which produces retro-sounding modular synths, will share revenue with a set of black musicians. Jeff Tweedy, founder of the indie-rock band Wilco, will donate 5% of his songwriting revenue in perpetuity.
Across the music industry, artists such as Tory Lanez have begun speaking up about predatory contracts and record deals. This sentiment was echoed by Erykah Badu, an artist turned entrepreneur who has been working to pave the way for upcoming artists.
With more long-term solutions in place, black artists of tomorrow might enjoy a more equitable music scene.
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