On Fri., June 5, for the third time since the start of the pandemic, Bandcamp is waiving a share of its sales to support artists impacted by COVID-19. Musicians in Pittsburgh are taking it a step further. Instead of taking the funds for themselves, 100% of the money profits earned will be donated to Black Lives Matter causes in Pittsburgh and Minnesota, such as the Pittsburgh Freedom Fund (Venmo is @PGH-Freedom Fund) and the Bukit Bail Fund.
So far, participating Pittsburgh musicians and labels include Mars Jackson, Pet Zebra, High Five Productions, A-F Records, C. Scott, Brittney Chantele, Crafted Sounds, Misra Records, Marty Nightwagon, and Driving While Black Records artists Jaybee Jackson, JM the Poet, livefromthecity, and Jordan Montgomery. Stay up-to-date with involved artists with the hashtag #BandcampBlackout.
Some of those artists, like Jaybee Jackson, whose action sparked the Pittsburgh donation trend, already started donating their Bandcamp profits to BLM causes and will continue to do so through the weekend. On Tuesday, Jackson released Sick Sad World DEMO2020 under the moniker Saani Mac. Currently, he has received around $680 in donations, all of which he is matching out of his own pocket.
"[Jackson] started it on Tuesday, and I used my platform to get others involved," says livefromthecity, who posted a video on Twitter that same night spurring others to join in. "It was a great demonstration of community amongst artists who all felt moved to take action."
"Honestly y'all, I'm just fed up. I'm fed up with police brutality, I'm fed up with racism," he says in the video. "It's time for me to do the duty of an artist, which is to reflect the times and use my voice and my platform to evoke change and action, and make a difference."
Also on Friday as part of the #BandcampBlackout movement, JM the Poet releases “Tomorrow,” a powerful song that speaks on the recent deaths in the Black community, police brutality, protests, and injustice.
Donations were originally going to go to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, but after realizing they paused donations and George Floyd’s GoFundMe raised over $10 million, efforts were refocused toward Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade.
"I think it’s important because there are so many other events that often get swept under the rug," says livefromthecity. "That’s why we refocused on Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade. There’s so much more work to do. Black people are fed up with being an afterthought. We are not going to stand for the erasure of black people from history."
On Fri., June 19, Bandcamp will be donating 100% of its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.