The MusicCares Challenge Emerges to Benefit Artists (and Show Off Great Music)

Tom DeSavia, 2014.
Courtesy of Tom DeSavia

Tom DeSavia inaugurates the MusicCares Challenge.

Last Saturday Tom DeSavia, head of creative services at Songs Music Publishing, was sick of the naysaying from detractors of the now-ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge which, according to Forbes, has increased donations to the ALS Association by 3,500% over last year, from $2.8 million to over $100 million.

"I got pissed -- peoples' main complaint was that [the Ice Bucket Challenge is] vanity," DeSavia tells Billboard, "but who cares? Last year the ALS Association raised $2.8 million, and now this year it's a ridiculous amount of money. It's not like we bought 'We Are the World' because it was a good song!"

DeSavia took his ire at the cynics of the world and directed it towards benefitting something positive -- MusicCares. The organization provides assistance for artists and industry workers for a wide range of problems -- addiction, illness, homelessness -- that can creep up unsuspected on anyone, especially those without healthcare and safety nets, a situation many industry workers find themselves in.

"This year," DeSavia tells Billboard, "a really good friend of mine, Richard Edwards, was going through some serious health issues -- and he's a musician, so he has shitty insurance. He was suffering from really bad stomach pains and was also in the middle of a sold-out tour. MusicCares not only got him a diagnosis on this mystery illness that had gone undiagnosed for like five years, but also treatment and compassion. I watched this happen and watched this guy's life transform, and now he's going to be fine -- because of MusicCares."

The conceit is simple -- find a record you love, take a picture of yourself with it, donate a minimum of $5 to the organization and then nominate your friends -- or, if you like, those who had a part in making the record you chose.

The challenge has been steadily picking up steam since its inception almost a week ago -- below find some of those who took part. And go find your favorite record.

Donations to MusicCares can be made right here.

Composer and singer-songwriter Sam PhillipsCourtesy of Sam Phillips

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