Jeff Tweedy Pledges Percentage of Royalties to Racial Justice Groups - Rolling Stone
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Jeff Tweedy Calls for Music Industry Program to Divert Revenue to Racial Justice Groups

Wilco frontman pledges to commit 5% of writer royalties to such causes

Singer and music of US band Wilco Jeff Tweedy perfoms on stage during Cap Roig Festival at Palafrugell, Girona, Catalonia, Spain, 07 July 2017.Cap Roig Festival, Palafrugell (Griona), Spain - 07 Jul 2017

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy said he'll start donating 5% of his writer revenue to causes fighting for racial justice.

Robin Townsend/EPA/Shutterstock

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy called for the creation of a program that would allow songwriters and musicians to regularly donate a portion of their royalties to organizations fighting for racial justice.

Tweedy opened his statement by noting that the modern music industry is “built almost entirely on black art” and that “the wealth that rightfully belonged to black artists was stolen outright and to this day continues to grow outside their communities.” He went on to effectively call for reparations for decades of music industry exploitation and the creation of “some initiative that would allow us all to redirect a portion of our revenue to the communities that have been deprived of it.”

For his part, Tweedy said he would commit 5% of his writer revenue to organizations working toward racial justice, such as Movement for Black Lives and Black Women’s Blueprint. But he also called on the industry to come up with a program that would allow songwriters and musicians to “direct a percentage of their ‘writer’s share’ revenue to organizations that assist and support black communities.”

One possibility, he said, would be adding a box to check to rights management contracts that would immediately divert a portion of royalties to various organizations. This would put the issue, Tweedy said, “at the foundation of our business.”

“To BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and all other organizations that collect and disburse songwriter’s royalties, I ask you to please investigate a way to implement such a program,” Tweedy said. “To industry leaders: please join me in forming a coalition. My small contribution alone is a sincere but insufficient gesture. Hundreds of us joining together could provide some tremendous relief. Thousands of us committing to a reparations initiative could change our business and the world we live in.”

In This Article: Jeff Tweedy, Wilco


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