FEATURE: If Politicians Can’t Solve the Problems... Is It Time for a Viral Campaign or New Initiative from Music?




If Politicians Can’t Solve the Problems...


PHOTO CREDIT: @anniespratt  

 Is It Time for a Viral Campaign or New Initiative from Music?


THAT proposition might sound confusing...        

 PHOTO CREDIT: @katyukawa

but remember when we used to have these viral campaigns that raised money for charities?! They ranged from the rather silly Ice Bucket Challenge to simpler, less cold ideas. The campaign raised money for those suffering from ALS – although the initial aim was a bit sketchy and it only concentrated on ALS a bit later on. I was a bit miffed regarding the campaign as it seemed a rather unpleasant way to raise money to help cure a disease that had no relation to ice and buckets – the link is rather strange but it was a simple activity that showed people were willing to suffer a little to raise some cash for a good cause! There have been others since and, as the idea is to mobilise the masses and create a simple thing, they have been fairly unchallenging but helped generate awareness. I guess that is the main thing to do. I have proposed an idea that would involve a sort of music government. I think, in the quagmire of Brexit and what not, music is not high on the agenda for this Government. We could have a cabinet that specifically looks after aspects of music – from social media and tackling mental-health issues to keeping venues alive – and making sure old and new music was spread far and wide. There are so many issues in the world and I do not think enough is being done to tackle them. Look at the U.S. and U.K. governments and can we really say they are concerned with much beyond the problems they are creating?!


 PHOTO CREDIT: @infectedluna

Around the world, we are seeing poverty and racist crime; there is knife crime in this country and the huge mental-health debt is taking a lot of great people from the world. Toss into mix (the fact that) there are issues in the music industry itself – including venues closing when they could be saved – and you have a lot of concerns that need addressing. I think it is time for there to be some sort of music-fronted body that insinuates itself in aspects of life and raises awareness and finance. It would not have to be about music-related issues: the charity/body could use music as a way to tackle so many different ills and social concerns. I do wonder how much is slipping from the worldwide net and whether our leaders are taking the time to address real problems. We have a great health service in the U.K. but I worry they are not being looked after as well as they look after the public. I am not sure why we have not seen a viral campaign the last few years. There have been one or two low-level initiatives but nothing on the same level as the Ice Bucket Challenge. Maybe that was a rarity but I do feel like the world is more tense and troubled than it has been for many a year. Social media can be immensely powerful when we are spreading huge messages and uniting people through a common thread.

 IN THIS PHOTO: The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media between July-August 2014/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I am passionate about a number of things – including tackling homelessness, animal rights and gender equality – and, whilst there are charities set up to help fight these areas, it is always good to know there is a bit more help and incentive there. I keep seeing various public figures talking about subjects and areas close to their heart – from climate change and racism; there is a lot of passion that asks for change and love. Many governments either have their hands full with internal strife or they are unconcerned with the cries for help. Maybe my drive seems unfocused and speculative but I think there is a real opportunity to unite music with not only those in the industry but people around the world; celebrities, huge figures and those who hold power – including tech companies and business moguls. I am not suggesting billions could be raised but, a lot of the times, we often get overwhelmed by all the causes out there and struggle to take it all in. Sometimes, the hard-hitting adverts can be a bit too much and there are times where we get a bit casual and assume there is enough money in the kitty. I do believe music is the most potent force out there and something that most of us have in common. I feel there is a lot of energy out there regarding real mobility and a huge change. My idea of a music government might be a way off but I do feel like music has a vital role to play and can instigate progress.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @breakyourboundaries4

Perhaps it would not be something as brief as an Ice Bucket-similar campaign but think about how effective that was and how quick – people could film a clip of them being very cold on their phones, send that to social media platforms and spread the word. One of the issues was the lack of donation: many too caught up with the gimmick rather than actual goal behind the Ice Bucket Challenge: getting money to those suffering with ALS. Music is exploding and expanding at the rate of knots and, with that, streaming platforms are bulging and the likes of Instagram are getting heavier and busier. We have a lot of armoury and ammunition in order to get something special out into the world. Whether you are compelled to see gender equality or want to see climate change reversed/improved, how about something singular, fun and music-themed?! I loved the viral campaigns that have come before and it was heartening to see celebrities and the general populous alike come together and do something good. What I am suggesting would not be a one-off campaign nor would it be something that dominates and never goes away. I like the idea of using social media in a simple but powerful way. By that, we do not need people to write essays and do something complex; just a nice post or theme that everyone can get behind and have fun with – raising a lot of money for charities and, with it, greater awareness and change.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @sahuaromedia

I think it would be hard to focus on one charity/concern to tackle because we are all different and want to see change in different areas. Music and our love of it is the common thread and what will be the singular factor. My bid is that we/someone sets up a single website/campaign – not sure what the name would be yet – that would guide people through the process. There would be information and social media links (a hashtag that everyone would post) but, most importantly, this single form/page that one would enter details onto. I think, when it comes to music, it would be hard to think of an initiative that would involve a single video or song. Instead, and it would take a little more time, it would give people a chance to select a few songs/albums that are important to them. It would not be too strenuous but one would be able to create their personal profile that would have a number of categories – their favourite album, song that means the most; childhood favourites and best new band/act etc. That would mean people could create this unique profile/playlist that would bring new music to other people but would get them to think deeply about music and what it means to them; the power it holds and how it has shaped their lives. One sees these sorts of features on radio stations but this would be a way for everyone around the world to create their version.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @stairhopper

When the user is happy with their selection and they have completed all the selections – there would be a nice profile image that would be an album cover – then that get saved and you would have this URL/link. The central website would update with everyone’s selections and you would be able to go in and see what people from around the globe are posting. Part of the registration/submission process is a link that needs to be fulfilled: donate to a charity/charities of your choice or donate money that helps fight a cause. You would either be taken to a charity’s page or an organisation that fights something you are passionate about (whether climate change or eliminating gun crime). This campaign – maybe it could be called Make That Change – is designed to bring about change, raise awareness and, importantly, bring us all together. Once the submission is complete (and money donated), that link would then be posted to social media. The only other thing one would need to do is post a video (no longer than thirty seconds) that says who you are raising money for and why. There would be a hashtag for the campaign and, when the ball starts rolling, more will get involved and we all get to help make a difference and, in the process, discover some new music along the way. You could share your tweet/post and others and, like the biggest viral campaigns, it would be fun to do but would be serious.


PHOTO CREDIT: @nordwood  

Some might say it is best to do something simple regarding the music side. Maybe just focus on a single album or song that means a lot to someone. There could be a database of album covers and that would be all one needs to do when on the campaign’s official website. Whether it is a single song/album or something more detailed, it is something that can bring us together on social media and genuinely raise a lot of money for causes and charities in need. It shows how passionate we are and what is important to us, bring music in as that common link and would not outstay its welcome. There would be no time limit as to how long the campaign would last but it would naturally peter away and stop. I propose launching a new one each year because a new musical angle could be explored and asking people to donate once a year is not too much, surely?! I think we have reached a point where music is exploding and growing to this extraordinary height. Alongside this is the troubles we face in the world and a desire among the people to change things. There must be a link between universal love of music and a way of bringing us all together. I am open to suggestions but my hope is something viral can occur where the likes of you and me and huge figures are take part in this movement.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @juja_han

I think social media is wonderful when it is sharing joy or doing something good. A lot of the time, we are disconnected or sharing stuff that is really inane. Other times, we are simply on there to pass time, unware that something so powerful and popular can actually be used in a different, better way.  Music is, as I say, common to most of us and I like the idea of a campaign that helps raise money but also introduces music to people – some of us might discover new bands/albums that we were not aware of. I do not think our tolerance of viral/social media campaigns has died out. I like the fact a few have taken hold and genuinely captured the imagination. Maybe it was the simplicity of that idea but I feel one, when faced with a music incentive, would put in a couple more minutes in order to achieve the common desire. I am seeing so many social media posts from people angered at injustice or inequality. There are all these passionate people around who want to see betterment and it can be hard connecting everyone and unifying people. Maybe that is the ironic thing about social media: are we as connected and sociable as we can be? I feel, even if it is a one-off, an imagination-spiking campaign could get people connected and do a lot of good in the process. The fine details can be worked on but, like so many out there, I definitely want to help...


PHOTO CREDIT: @brucemars

MAKE a change.