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What does “Blackout Tuesday” mean for the Music Industry?

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By Vandana Bansal

On June 2, many members of the music industry engaged in a #blackouttuesday in response against the police brutality leading to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans.

The hashtag  #TheShowMustBePaused, went viral on twitter and other social media platforms among the music fraternity  to join an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change and a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.

The pioneers of the music industry’s support to the campaign were Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two black music industry executives at Atlantic Records and Platoon respectively. Major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group pledged support for the initiative. Companies observing the ‘pause’ os the show have done so in different ways: networks BET and MTV went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in response to Floyd’s death, while Spotify has replaced the artwork on some playlists with a black tile. Interscope records says it won’t release new music this week.

A June 2 a post on the Twitter account of the initiators for #TheShowMustBePaused clarified, “Please note: The purpose was never to mute ourselves. The purpose is to disrupt. The purpose is a pause from business as usual.” The tweet also states: If you use the Black Lives Matter hashtag, use it to share necessary resources and information for the movement. If you are not using it for that purpose, please type out Black Lives Matter with no hashtag, so we do not inadvertantly mute vital dialogue in a sea of black boxes.

Throughout the week, the music industry sood united to honour the wishes of artists and the black culture that laid the basis of pop culture music industry.The protesters amplified the voices of Black Americans by marching, mobilizing and praying. Most of them are donating a day’s wages to the organization of their choice on the front lines of this fight.

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