I’ve always been inspired by the potential of music to have a positive impact on the people and world around us. Working in the music industry, however, you can quite quickly get swept up in music simply being a commercial product. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, on some level it is what allows creators to earn a living and make lots of incredible, impactful music.
But today, the music industry has fallen subject to the forces of globalisation and a hyper-commercialised free market economy, where 70 percent of the world’s music is now owned by three companies and 90 percent of all streaming royalties is earned by one percent of the artists at the top. Sound familiar? Music in its purest form has an unrivalled ability to move people. But music, like water, air and land, has been packaged and sold off to the bidder with the deepest pockets.
This world, I would argue, does not create the conditions for the fullness of artistic creativity to be expressed, nor does it create fairness, or an ecosystem where music as platform for change is valued. Where are the protests songs of today?
When the bushfires broke out earlier this year, I was moved to use the power of music to make a difference beyond any commercial goals. There were lots of incredible live benefit shows happening but that’s not my area of expertise. So I had the idea of getting some artists together to write a song about hope and regeneration, and for all the profits to go to a rewilding project. I chatted to my mate Em about it (an amazing lady who runs Wye In The Sky records), who immediately enrolled and we were off.
Nine months later, with a global pandemic to boot, we are super proud and excited to be launching Tambah Project: a platform for artists to come together to make songs about issues we care about, and that fans stream for a greener planet. All proceeds going to Wild Ark, an incredible non-profit working to conserve and rewild the earth.
The original idea was to tell a more positive story around the climate conversation. Then as COVID set in, there was a lot of despair and fear. Notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, we wanted to remind everyone that there are pockets of beauty that still exist in nature and people, and that together we are stronger. It is possible to regenerate the environment, our social structures and everything around us. Crucially also, we wanted to move and inspire listeners, as its only from this place of love and connection that we can take meaningful action.
“Our Song” is an epic pop rock ballad written to this brief by three wonderful artists, Kyle LIonhart, Billy Otto and Nidala. This is just the start. We hope to lead a charge both on the music industry’s ethical approach to producing music, and in challenging other artists to use their platforms to make art count.
Whilst every project will follow the carbon offset model, we might easily change the focus to other important issues — child violence or mental health for example — bringing together three or more artists and challenging them to write about this topic, whilst donating the proceeds to an organisation in this space.
I dream of a future where we have built a catalogue of songs for which every stream or listen makes the word a better place. We invite you to join us in our mission and support music that make art count.
If you feel inspired to find out more, stream the track and support the project, then please go to www.tambahproject.com where you’ll find information on all of these things.