Sony Music Publishing is donating $100,000 to The 100 Percenters, a 250-member organization that advocates for music creatives with a focus on BIPOC and marginalized songwriters, composers and producers, it was announced Tuesday (April 12). The money will help provide financial relief through the organization’s Songwriter Stimulus Program and its Emergency Fund, both slated to launch later this year, as well as other efforts.
“It’s an honor to have the support of [Sony Music Publishing chairman and CEO] Jon Platt,” said 100 Percenters founder and executive director Tiffany Red. “He heard us and took action in a way that I could never have imagined. This is just the beginning.”
The relationship between SMP and The 100 Percenters — which recently sponsored a rally in front of Spotify’s former LA headquarters demanding higher payouts from Spotify and other DSPs — dates back to last fall, when Red, a Grammy-winning songwriter, caught Platt’s attention through a series of social media posts condemning what she said was a practice by some publishing companies of keeping writers tethered to unfair contracts before they could recoup payment for their work. (Maria Lyons, a member of The 100 Percenters’ senior advisory board, also made a key phone call.)
“My goal was to try to speak to the leaders of our business, the people who can make change, and inspire them to do the right thing and to please just hear us,” says Red. “Jon was the only one to open the door.”
What started as a butting of heads on Instagram evolved into an in-person meeting of the minds at SMP’s Los Angeles offices, and an extensive follow-up.
“He sat down with me and my board, and we had a real conversation,” Red continues. “He gave us the opportunity to not just tell our stories but to also be human, and to reach him on a human level, too.”
In February, SMP also launched Songwriter Assistance, a program that provides its entire roster of songwriters and composers with access to free, confidential 24/7 counseling services and wellness resources.
Since that initial meeting with Sony in September, Red says she’s now engaged in conversations with several other publishers and organizations.
A portion of the SMP funds will go towards stimulus checks, to be distributed in two phases, that will provide $2,500 to qualifying songwriters who will be selected by lottery. Recipients must have worked as a professional songwriter for one year or more, have at least three or more songwriting credits on allmusic.com, be a U.S citizen and be a member of The 100 Percenters.
Going forward, Red has both near-term goals — including additional grass-roots efforts to elevate the songwriter community — and long-term aspirations for the change The 100 Percenters is working to effect.
“I’m thinking about how the work we are doing right now will impact the culture of this business, and make it a more equitable and fair place for everyone,” she says. “I’m excited for there to be a generation of songwriters who don’t know anything about not being paid, and who have a seat at the table. I can’t wait for that.”