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Sony Music joins major label rivals in launching fund to help tackle racism and prejudice

By | Published on Monday 8 June 2020

Sony Music

Sony Music followed the lead of its major label rivals on Friday by announcing a new fund to support initiatives that seek to tackle racism and prejudice. Like Warner Music, the music company is committing a neat $100 million to that fund.

All three music major music rights companies made commitments to support projects of that kind last week in the wake the Black Out Tuesday initiative, which in turn followed the countless protests that took place in the US and all over the world in response to the controversial death of George Floyd in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

Universal Music announced the launch of a taskforce that will pursue an assortment of projects to tackle discrimination and champion diversity, within the company itself, the wider music industry and the world at large. The major has committed $25 million to fund those projects.

Meanwhile Warner Music and its parent company Access Industries pledged $100 million “to support charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism”.

On Friday, the Sony Music Group announced its $100 million fund that will support “social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the world”. It said that the various companies within the group, including the Sony labels and Sony/ATV publishing firm, will “immediately begin to donate to organisations that foster equal rights”.

Sony Music Group Chairman Rob Stringer added: “Racial injustice is a global issue that affects our artists, songwriters, our people and of course society at large. We stand against discrimination everywhere and we will take action accordingly with our community fully involved in effectively using these funds”.

With Sony’s commitment on Friday, all three majors have now responded to calls from the artist and wider music community for the big corporates of the industry to financially back up their social media postings supporting the Black Lives Matter protests and Black Out Tuesday initiative. A number of artists and other music companies have likewise made financial commitments.

Among them are K-pop stars BTS and their label Big Hit Entertainment, who announced this weekend that they had made a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter. The group’s fans responded by staging their own online fundraiser aiming to match that gesture and to raise a million for a variety of organisations fighting racism and prejudice. Having kicked things off on Saturday, the fans organising that fundraiser announced they’d passed $1 million by yesterday evening.

Elsewhere in the indie label sector, 10K Projects – the LA-based independent music company led by Elliot Grainge, son of Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge – announced the launch of a new charitable arm called 10K Together whose initial focus will be the “fight against racist policies and racial injustice” and to “create career opportunities for black youth and support black-owned businesses”. The company has committed $500,000 to the programme over the next five years.

Grainge said: “We all have a responsibility to be the change we want to see in the world, but making a real difference is going to take a long-term commitment. We encourage our colleagues in the independent community to join us in our long-term fight against racist policies and racial injustice in this country and to create opportunity within the community that has given us all so much”.