In January, a group of Atlantic Records employees including Canvasback label imprint vp of marketing Jack Hedges formed a company task force to develop a plan for utilizing Atlantic’s star-studded artist roster, which includes the likes of Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Meek Mill, to encourage voter registration.
A global pandemic later, “You can imagine, the ideas and plans we were formulating were very different from where we are now,” Hedges tells Billboard. But the goal — to inspire more young people to vote in both local and presidential elections — is as urgent as ever.
That’s why today (July 16), Atlantic Records is announcing a new partnership with music-focused voter registration organization HeadCount to launch ATLVotes, a cross-roster digital campaign to inform and encourage young Americans to vote. As the first major label to officially partner with HeadCount, Atlantic will also be donating an undisclosed amount to the organization, which partners with musicians to register voters at concerts and festivals.
“With the 2020 election shaping up to be the most consequential of our lifetime, it’s crucial that we empower our artists with the resources to educate their fans, register new voters and help drive turnout in November,” says Hedges, who co-chairs the ATLVotes committee. “We formed ATLVotes in partnership with HeadCount because they have the grassroots organizing and policy expertise, but also know how to talk to artists & their teams to get things done.”
As the coronavirus pandemic has brought live events to a halt, the initiative will take place entirely online. In addition to a major social media campaign which will roll out in August, Atlantic is incorporating voter registration embeds and links on artists’ websites, email lists and more. “We’re working with our e-commerce team, so that every time someone buys something from an artist’s web store, they get a link to register to vote in their email receipt,” Hedges adds.
The Warner Music Group-owned record company will also integrate HeadCount’s existing “VOTE READY” tool into all its artists’ future livestreams, allowing fans to enter to win video chats with their favorite artists by proving that they are registered to vote.
HeadCount has a proven track record for spurring registrations: Since 2004, the organization has registered more than 600,000 voters at concerts, music festivals and online, working with artists from Ariana Grande to Beyoncé.
“Partnering with the storied Atlantic Records has been an exceptional opportunity for HeadCount,” adds the organization’s director of artist relations, Mollie Farrell. “We admire Atlantic’s emphasis on equity and impact through artist development. This is our first major label partnership, and we welcome the opportunity to help new, younger, and more diverse voters have easier access to the polls in 2020.”
The initiative involves all Atlantic Records subsidiaries, including Canvasback as well as Artist Publishing Group and Elektra Music Group, home to Elektra Records, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner Records and other storied labels. Meanwhile, Hedges says that more than 100 employees across Atlantic have signed up to take part in voting-focused internal initiatives, which will include volunteer opportunities. “It shows how hungry people are to get involved,” he says.
Explore the ATLVotes official website here.