In times of trouble, people often turn to music for comfort. Right now, they can also turn to musicians and the music industry for direct aid, as the industry mobilizes to help victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks and their families.
Most tours and performances scheduled for this week have either been canceled or postponed, but many of the artists who chose to carry on will be donating portions of their concert proceeds to relief efforts.
Madonna pledged proceeds from Thursday's performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to disaster victims and their families, according to the Associated Press, while Backstreet Boys donated at least $10,000 in proceeds from their show Wednesday in Toronto to the American Red Cross and New York and Washington, D.C., police and fire department funds.
Backstreet Boys' contribution is part of ClearChannel.com Relief Fund, established by Clear Channel Worldwide, the parent company of the group's tour promoter. Other artists who've donated at least $10,000 from this week's concerts to the fund, which initially will benefit the Red Cross and affected fire departments, include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sade and Earth Wind & Fire, a company spokesperson said. Individuals can make contributions at www.clearchannel.com, or send donations to ClearChannel.com Relief Fund, PO Box 659512, San Antonio, TX 78265.
Incubus will donate the proceeds from their Saturday (September 15) and Sunday shows in New York to relief efforts, with concert promoter Metropolitan Entertainment and radio sponsor WXRK-FM also contributing their shares to the cause. All proceeds from merchandise sales at Godsmack's shows in Darien, New York, on Friday and Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Sunday will benefit the New York City Public and Private Initiative, a fund benefiting the families of police officers and firefighters.
Record companies are helping out, too. Vivendi Universal, parent of the Universal Music Group (Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Island Def Jam), will donate $5 million to relief efforts, as well as raising money for the United Way's September 11th Fund by matching employee donations (on a two-to-one basis), a company spokesperson said.
Bertelsmann, which houses BMG Entertainment (RCA, Arista, LaFace, Bad Boy, J Records), has donated $2 million to a fund that will assist families of firefighters and police officers lost in the World Trade Center disaster, and the EMI Group pledged $1 million to relief efforts, according to spokespersons for the label groups.
Representatives for Sony Music and the Warner Music Group, the other major record companies, could not be reached at press time.
Indie labels Merge and Saddle Creek Records, which both had artists scheduled to play in New York this weekend as part of the now-postponed CMJ Music Marathon, have put together a benefit concert for Saturday in the city. The show, which will feature Superchunk's Mac McCaughan, the Clean, the Faint and others, will benefit New York firefighters. CMJ has been rescheduled for October 10-13 (see "Concerts Across U.S., CMJ Marathon, Latin Grammys On Hold Following Attacks").
Radio stations are also contributing. New York hip-hop station WQHT (Hot 97) and two of its sister stations, WQCD (CD101.9) and WRKS (KISS FM), have established funds. Hot 97's Hip Hop Has Heart Foundation, the KISS Cares Foundation and CD101.9's Smooth Jazz Foundation are collecting contributions and will determine the best beneficiary shortly, a Hot 97 spokesperson said.
Washington, D.C., rock station WHFS-FM is hosting a benefit concert/volunteer drive Saturday, at which the American Red Cross and on-air personality Gina Crash will give attendees training in disaster relief.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Clear Channel radio stations will collectively donate $100,000 originally intended as the prize in a nationwide contest to the ClearChannel.com fund.