News June 2, 2020

How the Australian music biz has responded to Black Out Tuesday

Managing Editor
How the Australian music biz has responded to Black Out Tuesday

Music businesses big and small will go silent today in support of Black Out Tuesday, a global and united response of solidarity following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Widespread protests across the US erupted after Floyd, 46, died in police custody last Monday (May 25). Officer Derek Chauvin suffocated the man as onlookers watched on in distress.

Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but the slow response from authorities and lack of action from leaders has sparked riots in many US cities.

An image began spreading on social media on Friday (May 29), calling for a music industry “Black Out” on Tuesday, while promoting the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused.

The likes of US distributor EMPIRE, Apple Music’s Ebro Darden, publisher Peermusic, legendary producer Quincy Jones and UK label Dirty Hit have all reposted the image, according to MBW.

A number of Australian music companies have joined the Black Out Tuesday movement, with plans to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” today.

Spotify, Live Nation, Mushroom, TMRW Music, Caroline, Apple, Kobalt and major labels Warner Music, Universal Music and Sony Music are among the local operators vowing to go quiet.

Mushroom owned label Liberation Records acknowledged, in a statement shared on Facebook, that “racial violence and bias simply cannot be tolerated” and remains “very real in Australia”.

TMN understands that most labels will not release any new music or post on social media today, with some donating to relevant charities, and others planning future community initiatives.

In a post on Instagram on Monday, indie label etcetc said they will stand in solidarity with the black community in the US, Australia and around the globe.

“We stand together with all who seek to eradicate racism, inequality and injustice,” they wrote.

“As part of an industry that celebrates cultural diversity, we must come together to support and stand up for all humans in the pursuit of freedom and equality.”

Warner Music Australia also said it will also observe Black Out Tuesday, confirming the WMG business “will not go on as usual” as it takes the opportunity to assist employees and artists.

“As part of this, we will be contributing to Black Lives Matter and other local Australian organisations that are doing crucial work to combat racial injustice,” the post stated.

Spotify will add 8 minutes and 46-seconds of silence to select playlists and podcasts on the platform to honour Floyd and Apple Music is spotlighting songs from black artists.

Australian youth media outlet Junkee has published a comprehensive list of charities and organisations that support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Indigenous people.

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