Tech trends

When music and charity collide

Music is everywhere, if it’s not on the radio at home then it’s playing in the shops and if it’s not in the shops, it’s on the television - even in the background of our favourite soap operas! There is no escaping it!

By Reason Digital · January 15, 2013

With music all around us, it seems only natural to use people’s love of music to do a little good. Here are just a few examples of some of the different ways the power of music can be used for raising donations and awareness of a charity…

Make it Memorable

Remember us talking about the British Heart Foundation’s Staying Alive CPR video in our Charity & Comedy Blog? Well they’ve revamped it using the same premise butting adding Mini Vinnie into the mix, to encourage schools to practice CPR. As well as great use of comedy, the campaign’s use of music is also to be applauded. They instruct the audience to call 999 and then push hard and fast in the centre of the chest to the beat of Stayin’ Alive. A clever and fitting song title to the situation in hand – adding to its comical effect. Without a doubt this has to be one of their most successful campaigns to date. On YouTube alone it has over 2.4 million views and people are starting to come forward  with their stories of saving lives after taking note from seeing the advert on tv and online. There have been 15 reported instances of people applying the lesson resulting in positive outcomes. Thus proving it is raising the organisation’s awareness and saving lives.

Be creative

When deciding to create a song for a charity it doesn’t have to be as simple as getting a group of singers together and having them sing in music videos. You can make it so much more fun!

Peter Kay decided to put a bit of a spin on his band called The Animated All Star Band for Children in Need. Rather that having his human self on the music video he decided to have a full animated cast of himself and a number of well known cartoon stars from the past few decades. There was a mix of popular feel good songs put together to create one full length song that almost everyone would be familiar with.

The feel good song went to number 1 and is a reminder of happy times and childhood, that, linked with some very popular song choices has been effective in helping it spread across the internet and world wide.

Make it funny

The comedy duo behind Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement released a song to help raise money for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses in support of Cure Kids’ Red Nose Day in New Zealand (also featured in our Charity & Comedy blog).

The song ‘Feel Inside (And stuff like that)’ was inspired by a group of charming and quick witted rhyming primary school children, taking what they had said and turning it into a song. There were a number of different artists and producers who got involved such as Printz Boar who has worked with bands such as the Black Eyed Peas.

The catchy tune helped to raise a massive $1.3million for medical research into illnesses that affect children in New Zealand.

Build up emotion

You’ll notice that many charity adverts, whether on the websites or on the tv all use soft sensitive music in the background in order to be emotive.

A good example of this is the NSPCC, with images alone it perhaps wouldn’t be as affective. But their use of soft piano and gentle vocals adds emotion that could even bring the toughest of people to tears. The music builds on the negative experiences that these young people face.

Therefore when creating a video about your cause make sure you are careful about your choice of song.  It should be a song that you feel reflects your charity and the message you are trying to get across and, if someone were to hear it they would instantly associate it with your cause.

Fighting for a one off cause

From the godfather of charity singles, Band Aid’s 1984 ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas’ to the X Factor’s Help for Heroes single, artists are known for coming together and creating music for much needed causes. They always seem to have a high level of success raising huge amounts of donations and awareness for their causes.

The most recent is the Justice Collective featuring the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and Rebecca Ferguson all coming together to raise funds for the families involved in getting justice for their loved ones after the Hillsborough Disaster. The song, ‘He Ain’t Heavy…He’s my Brother’ made it to number 1 and so far has sold 295,000 solid copies.

It’s main promoters were Facebook and Twitter. Many people spread the word through the social networking sites to try to help make a difference.


Using popular musicians

The website, Charity Swear Box, where people sign up to and donate a small amount when they use a swear word on Twitter, uses the band Stooshe and their music to endorse their cause of fighting against bullying. Why Stooshe and their music though?

They fit into the swear box idea. Stooshe are becoming renowned for being outspoken and less formal in the language they use, meaning they swear a lot in interviews and some of their songs. They are alternative and fit in perfectly with Charity Swear Box and their outlook of doing things a little bit differently.

But you don’t need fancy equipment and famous people…

Lip dubs

This has become a common craze with a number of these home made music videos going viral.  How does a lip dub work though? It combines lip synching and audio dubbing to make a music video

UBC students in America partnered up with the Make a Wish Foundation. 1000 students lip synched to Raise Your Glass by Pink and Celebrity Status by Marianas Trench. Every sponsored hit on the video meant their sponsors gave a donation to the Foundation

Goodman Cancer Research Centre put their own spin on the Lip Dub. They gathered their top members of staff and students to sing and dance to Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’. For every hit on youtube their sponsor mediacom donated to the cause.

Not only are they very entertaining  but it’s brilliant to see charities taking things into their own hands by using music to raise money. Showing a little creativity can go a long way.

Music is calming

A number of charities use music as a way of therapy for those dealing with an illness or disability.

BBC3 recently helped to raise awareness about tourettes syndrome by creating a small series called ‘Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You’, hosted by Reggie Yates. He takes young people out of their comfort zones, showing the world what they go through on a daily basis and how music helps them. Eventually putting them on stage for the world to see what they have accomplished by performing to a live studio audience.

The program has proved extremely popular. It works as a way of showing people what it’s like living with the difficult and often misunderstood conditions.

Ethical downloads?

Fairsharemusic donates money to charity every time a song is brought from the web page. It’s founders calculated that if every legal song and album purchase made last year had been carried out through their website, charities would have received more than £9.5 million in donations.

Some charity organisations which are already partnered with the website are the Alzheimers Society, Keep Britain Tidy, War Child and many, many more.

Not only does it also help to promote legal downloading, at least 50% of their net profits go to charity even if it works out that they make a loss!

So if you’re a music lover why not buy your song via Fairsharemusic, not only do you get the music you want but you get a feel good factor knowing that buying your music is essentially helping someone else in the long run.

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