On Nov. 3, U.S. voters will decide if President Donald Trump gets four more years in office or send Democratic ticket Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.
Ahead of what has been said to be the most important election in at least a generation, non-partisan voter registration organizations including HeadCount and Voto Latino, in partnership with labels and artists, have launched music-driven initiatives that incentivize eligible voters – especially young ones – to get registered and vote.
Even labels and digital streaming platforms have rolled out campaigns to encourage both employees and artists to vote this election. And venues across the country will serve as polling sites for early voting and on Election Day.
From Spotify’s “Play Your Part” to HeadCount’s “Just Vote” and ASCAP’s “Citizen” campaign, here’s a list of all music industry initiatives launched to get out the vote this fall.
TheBasement Series & Audiomack: “From TheBasement to the Ballot”
Los Angeles-based concert series and creative agency TheBasement Series has teamed up with Audiomack to present From TheBasement to the Ballot. The music driven livestream event will focus its efforts on educating Gen Z and first-time voters that will represent millions of votes in the upcoming presidential election.
“We pride ourselves on helping artists create moments that move their music forward. But in this current climate, it’s all about moving the vote forward,” says Jason Johnson, Audiomack’s vp, of marketing & brand strategy. “We’re excited to partner with TheBasement Series on this initiative to help bring more awareness to this year’s Presidential Election and ensure younger voters have the resources that they need to make their voices heard.”
Artists G Herbo, Kaash Paige, Kalan.Frfr, Ambré and Peter $un are set to perform Oct. 21. You can watch From TheBasement to the Ballot exclusively on Audiomack’s Twitch channel at 8pm ET.
Sony Music Entertainment: “Your Voice, Your Power, Your Vote”
On Oct. 13, Sony Music Group, which has given U.S. employees a paid day off on Election Day, launched its ‘Your Voice, Your Power, Your Vote’ campaign video, featuring artists and songwriters including Camila Cabello, Khalid, P!nk, Shakira, G-Eazy, DJ Khaled, Celine Dion, Chloe x Halle, Becky G, Gloria Estefan, among others.
“A vote is a voice, a voice is power, a voice not spoken cannot be heard,” they say in the video. “A voice not heard, soon goes silent. I have a voice, you have a voice. Together we are loud.”
The release of the video follows Sony’s non-partisan civic initiative announced over the summer that offers voting-related tools and resources to its employees, artists and songwriters to share across their networks. Partners for the initiative include Rock the Vote, When We All Vote, Color of Change, Voto Latino, Movement Voter Fund, APIA Vote, The National Black Justice Coalition and Black Futures Lab, among others.
“Election Day in the U.S. is right around the corner and we know there are many ways voters can make an impact,” said Sony Music Group’s newly-hired executive vp, philanthropy and social impact Towalame Austin. “We are a global company with headquarters in New York City, and we can help empower and mobilize our American artists, songwriters, employees and communities with the information and resources they need to make their voices heard.”
Sony has also partnered with Lyft to provide access to free and discounted rides to designated polling locations in cities with a personal, hometown artist connection. Unique ride codes will be promoted across Sony Music Group artist and songwriter social handles prior to and on Election Day (Nov. 3).
HeadCount: “Just Vote”
HeadCount partnered with Global Citizen to launch the “Just Vote” campaign, which aims to engage 1 million young Americans to check their voter registration status, register if necessary and vote, with incentives that include vinyl autographed by Billie Eilish, access to a private virtual concert from Nicky Jam and virtual hangouts with Quavo and DJ Khaled. Taylor Swift is giving away a signed guitar.
“We would’ve been at about 2,500 events this year, and when COVID-19 hit, we were on tour with Billie Eilish,” says Andy Bernstein, executive director at HeadCount. “We’re going to have our best year ever, all through online and virtual activity. Pandemic-imposed limitations have inspired these organizations to innovate online.”
Voto Latino: “En La Lucha”
Voto Latino recruited artists Becky G, Maná and Los Tigres del Norte for their ambitious campaign that aims to target Latino voters, who will be the nation’s largest ethnic minority among eligible voters this year at 13.6%, according to the Pew Research Center. Voto Latino also launched the Voto Latino Foundation Impact Council, a national group harnessing the power of celebrities, politicians and influencers with hundreds of millions of social followers across industries and sectors to educate, engage and empower the Latin community to register to vote and cast their ballots on or by Election Day on Nov. 3.
“Throughout our career, we’ve encouraged all the members of the community to make their voices heard as well,” says Los Tigres del Norte’s Jorge Hernández. “If we don’t join forces, we will continue to allow the election of those who don’t support the rights of Latinos.”
Universal Music Group: “Use Your Voice”
UMG’s voter education and mobilization campaign kicked off in August with an “hour of action” virtual canvassing event, during which the record company says that its employees reached more than 200,000 people. Organized with UMG’s new Task Force for Meaningful Change, the event was held in partnership with the nonprofit When We All Vote, which aims to increase participation in every election by changing the culture around voting.
During the hour-long event, more than 150 U.S. employees, artists and partners engaged in voter education and mobilization activities by reaching out to friends, family and social media followers. UMG has given U.S. employees a paid day off on Election Day (Nov. 3).
Access the “Use Your Voice” website here for more info.
Warner Music Group: “On the Ballot”
WMG is hosting a virtual speaker series for its U.S. employees that will be moderated by Peter Hamby (Head of News Content and Host of Good Luck America on Snapchat) and feature expert panelists discussing the ins and outs of elections and voting.
The first in the series kicks off today (Sept. 22) with Jon Favreau (co-founder/co-host of Pod Save America and former speechwriting director for President Barack Obama) and Geoff Bennett (White House Correspondent at NBC News) to discuss Presidential Power: The Race to the White House.
Warner Records also partnered with Headcount to encourage voter registration and to share important resources to engage their employees and artists in the voting process.
Warner Music Latina’s Gaby Martinez joined Voto Latino Foundation’s Impact Council to offer support and guidance.
Atlantic Records: “ATLVotes”
In July, Atlantic Records announced a partnership with HeadCount to launch ATLVotes, a cross-roster digital campaign to inform and encourage young U.S. citizens to vote.
“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 Jack 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 and their teams to get things done.”
On Oct. 26, ATL Votes launched the 36% Campaign, which utilizes Atlantic’s roster to emphasize the importance of voting. According to the Census Bureau, only 36% of eligible voters ages 18-29 voted in the 2018 midterm election. The 36% Campaign aims to illustrate this low percentage by showing what 36% of hit videos and songs by Atlantic artists would look and sound like.
To launch the campaign, Portugal. The Man reworked the video for their Grammy-winning hit “Feel It Still.” The new video is only 36% visible and has been stripped of a number of key elements including the signature bass line. Fellow Atlantic superstars Kelly Clarkson, Meek Mill, Cordae and Grouplove also joined the campaign sharing rough-cut, shortened videos of some of their biggest hits.
ASCAP: “Citizen Campaign”
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) launched its “Citizen” campaign, powered by HeadCount, urging ASCAP’s more than 775,000 music creator members and their fans to make sure their votes are counted on Election Day 2020.
“We are music creators, from all walks of life,” said ASCAP chairman of the board and president Paul Williams. “Our music has the power to change the world. That’s why we work so hard for it to be heard. Now, we need our votes to be heard. It’s time to embrace our role as ASCAP Citizens.”
To kick off ASCAP Citizen, ASCAP social media channels will feature photos and videos with personal messages about voting from ASCAP members each day during the week of September 21. Participating artists include Jermaine Dupri, John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday, Matt Berninger of The National, Brothers Osborne, Avenue Beat and Ingrid Michaelson, among others.
ASCAP is also an official partner in National Voter Registration Day (Sept. 22). To extend the momentum of that effort, ASCAP will invite all music creators and fans to share their own ASCAP Citizen messages on social media using the hashtag #ASCAPCitizen to inspire their followers to register to vote ahead of upcoming state voter registration deadlines.
Spotify: “Play Your Part”
Spotify has committed to election-related editorial, with playlists by young artists like King Princess, Chloe x Halle, Alaina Castillo and Conan Gray encouraging other potential first-time voters to get engaged. The company’s “Play Your Part” campaign includes a “Voter’s Booth Hub” that spotlights news podcasts spanning the political spectrum, from Ben Shapiro to Pod Save America, and breakdowns of the issues that “matter most,” such as social justice and climate change.
“Some people don’t have others telling them how important it is, or they don’t have the resources to register, so I want to make it easy for them and remind them how important their voice is,” says Castillo, a 20-year-old rising Mexican-American pop artist.
SoundCloud: “Turn Up the Vote”
SoundCloud announced it’s new voting campaign dubbed “Turn Up the Vote” in partnership with HeadCount. “Turn Up the Vote” launched with a centralized online voting resource hub, which breaks down the state-by-state voting process for new and first-time voters.
The initiative will roll out across SoundCloud’s owned and operated channels through Nov. 3.
SoundCloud has given U.S. employees a paid day off on Election Day.
Live Nation announced initiatives to support access to voting in the 2020 elections, which includes Live Nation-owned concert venues serving as polling places and providing employees with paid time off to vote. Employees are also encouraged to serve as poll workers and partner with organizations on voter access and educational efforts.
“Core to what we do at Live Nation is helping amplify voices on stage around the world, and supporting voting is another important way we want to continue making voices heard,” said Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. “We’re honored to work with such incredible partners and will do everything in our power to support and empower voter engagement among our employees and the public.”
As of now, The Wiltern and Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, Emo’s in Austin and the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta are confirmed to serve as polling sites in their respective jurisdictions, and The Fillmore in Philadelphia has offered to serve its local neighborhood and is in the final stages of the vetting process.
Live Nation has also partnered with HeadCount to allow U.S. citizens to check their voter registration status at www.headcount.org/livenation.
EMPIRE: “Voices For Change”
Indie label, distributor and publisher EMPIRE released a new compilation project called Voices For Change. The project, which features EMPIRE artists from all over the world including PJ Morton, D Smoke and Mozzy, dropped today (Sept. 22) in honor of National Voter Registration Day. Proceeds from Voices For Change will go towards the ACLU. Stream the songs here.
EMPIRE also partnered with Vote.org, Triller and Rock The Vote to raise awareness for voter registration during the upcoming election.
The Forum will serve as a voting center for the presidential election on Nov. 3. The Clippers and the Forum also unveiled the LA Voters Win platform to encourage and empower voter participation by helping voters check their registration status, explore what’s on their local ballot, research policy and make a plan for how to vote.
“You have undoubtedly heard the voices of our players, coaches and staff, passionately and powerfully urging Americans to register and exercise their right to vote,” said Gillian Zucker, Clippers president of business operations. “We are dedicated to the same cause: fighting voter suppression and empowering all citizens to determine meaningful progress, for this generation and generations to come. Inglewood is the home of the Forum and will soon be the home of the L.A. Clippers. Now, it will also be a home for local voters, to come together and help shape a brighter future.”
Voters will be also be able to drop off mail-in ballots at the Forum from Oct. 24 – Nov. 3. The Vote Center at the Forum will follow all CDC and Public Health guidelines and best practices.
Recording Academy: “#MusicVotes”
The Recording Academy launched its #MusicVotes campaign – a partnership with HeadCount for music creators to register to vote by providing everyone in the music community with the tools to get out the vote. Members can visit the Recording Academy’s easy to use #MusicVotes site to verify that they are already registered, register to vote, or request an absentee ballot.
Furthermore, the Academy’s 12 Chapters are engaging its members by launching a social media campaign to encourage the music industry to visit the #MusicVotes site and ensure they are prepared for election day.
Interscope Geffen A&M Records: “Interscope X Votes”
On Oct. 2, Interscope Geffen A&M Records (IGA) announced the launch of Interscope X Votes, a coordinated campaign to increase voter turnout, promote early and mail-in voting and support efforts to address a nationwide shortage of poll workers ahead of the presidential election. Beginning the week of Oct. 5, IGA employees and artists will be encouraged to use social media to urge engagement in the three key areas.
“Low voter turnout is a problem in the best of times, but coupled with the global pandemic, this year will be especially challenging,” says Interscope Geffen A&M vice-chairman Steve Berman. “Interscope X Votes aims to reach all voters––including first-time voters, people who might not consider themselves political, or those who believe their vote doesn’t matter––with a message of hope and optimism: This is our chance to stand up, raise our voices and make sure we’re heard.”
Estrella Media: “Vota Por Nosotros”
Estrella Media launched a get out the vote campaign to encourage the Latino community to go out and vote Nov. 3rd.The “Vota Por Nosotros” campaign includes messages from Maná, Alejandro Fernandez, Christian Nodal, Los Angeles Azules, and Alex Fernandez among others. “Estrella Media is proud to lend its multiplatform properties, so the artist community can talk directly with their fans about the importance of voting,” said Eduardo Leon, executive vice president of radio programming for Estrella Media. “This is an important time for our community to ensure our voices are heard.” The “Vota Por Nosotros” campaign begins airing on Estrella Media’s multi-platform properties (radio, television, digital) effective immediately and will continue until election day, November 3, 2020.