Music Business Reacts to White House Policies

Photo courtesy of Bandcamp

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Bandcamp founder and CEO, Ethan Diamond, posted an open letter voicing his opinion on the current policies and attitudes of the Trump Administration by donating all of the site's proceeds earned on Friday, Feb. 3, to the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Like 98% of U.S. citizens (including the President), I am the descendant of immigrants—my great-grandparents came to America from Russia and Lithuania as teenagers and worked in sweatshops until they were able to afford to bring the rest of their families over. Most everyone you speak to in this country has a similar story to tell, because we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants, bound together by a shared belief in justice, equality, and the freedom to pursue a better life. In this context, last week’s Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America.

Contrary to the assertions of the current administration, the order will not make us safer (an opinion shared by the State Department and many members of Congress including prominent Republicans). Christian religious leaders have denounced both the ban, as well as the exception prioritizing Christian immigrants, as inhumane. It is an unequivocal moral wrong, a cynical attempt to sow division among the American people, and is in direct opposition to the principles of a country where the tenet of religious freedom is written directly into the Constitution. This is not who we are, and it is not what we believe in. We at Bandcamp oppose the ban wholeheartedly, and extend our support to those whose lives have been upended.

And so all day this Friday, February 3rd (starting at 12:01am Pacific Time), for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, we will be donating 100% of our share of the proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union, who are working tirelessly to combat these discriminatory and unconstitutional actions.

As another way of showing solidarity with the immigrants and refugees from the seven banned countries—as well as those impacted by the construction of the Mexican border wall—we’ve compiled a list of albums made by artists from the affected countries (Bandcamp may be incorporated in the United States, but we host artists from every corner of the world). We believe that knowledge and empathy are crucial weapons against fear and intolerance. We hope that, as you listen to these albums, you’ll not only discover some great new artists, but will also gain a further appreciation and understanding for the way music transcends all borders, and remember that, even in the darkest of times, there is more that unites us than divides us.
— Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp Founder & CEO

Ethan Diamond. Photo courtesy of XOXO Festival/Youtube.

The world is reacting at the lightning speed of information to the new Trump administration’s policies. The result is being felt in various communities, often first seen is the entertainment world. Since Trump’s entry to office, countless celebrities have voiced their opinion fiercely through social media, awards speeches, and the content of their art.

The world music community has seen cancellations of tours due to performers hailing from ban list countries. Industry representation from organizations such as ASCAP and RIAA had initially reached out to Trump hoping for a tightening up of intellectual property laws, but as unease is reaching the labels and media companies- perhaps in fear of backlash from fans and disruption of touring, the game is changing.

Early events in the media show episodes like the cast of Hamilton on stage pointing out their concerns of the US’s new directions, and now we have seen social media lit up with people demanding boycotts of companies like Starbucks for vowing to hire refugees.

The #DeleteUber tag shows contempt for that company's actions during airport protests because CEO Travis Kalanick is on Donald Trump’s business advisory council. Competing rideshare company Lyft gained notoriety for donating a million dollars to the ACLU. Money is a catalyst of change and though the elections are over, corporations continue to vote with their wallets.