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You know it’s a movement when

WE PROMISE WE’LL GET BACK to Problem #2 (see last night’s post below), and a discussion of House and Senate anti-filesharing legislation, later today. But if you haven’t heard about it already, you should check out justafan.org, a music activism project by two Wilco fans, Ronen Givony and Jeff Dashley. When Wilco’s latest album leaked onto filesharing networks, they built a site where people who’d downloaded the album could give something back. They contacted band members, and set up a donation page to the hottest charitable organization on the planet (and Wilco’s pick) Doctors Without Borders. In the first day they raised $1500, says this article in Rolling Stone. When asked by Glorious Noise in an interview about the idea behind justafan.org, they cite Grey Tuesday as part of their inspiration:

The idea very much came out of the blue, after I finished reading a story in the New York Times Magazine about the Grey Album, and that DJ [Danger Mouse] being served with a cease-and-desist order, and all the websites that organized that one-day protest around it—and it got me to thinking, well, shit. Read the interview

It’s official, music activism–as a movement–is getting a lot bigger than Downhill Battle.


Some interesting background on Wilco: they’re one of the many bands signed to a major label that went through the hellish experience of making an album that their label refused to release (this happens way too much). That album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, flooded filesharing networks and the band began streaming it for free from their website. When the album finally came out, it debuted at #13 on the U.S. charts.

The story of Wilco, in general, and justafan.org, in particular, demonstrate that when people value a piece of music, they’ll voluntarily pay money to support it. That’s something that has the major labels terrified: people might like Yeah by Usher/Lil John/Ludacris (I do) but do they value it enough to pay for it when they can get it for free? Probably not.

Everyone should read this interview with the justafan.org creators in Glorious Noise. Oh, and for any t-shirts or stickers you buy today, the proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders via justafan.org.

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