Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy announced he’s committing 5% of his songwriting shares to racial justice organizations while encouraging his peers and performance rights organizations (PROs) to give back to Black communities.
“The modern music industry is built almost entirely on Black art. The wealth that rightfully belonged to Black artists was stolen outright and to this day continues to grow outside their communities,” Tweedy wrote in a lengthy Instagram note posted on the alt-rock band’s page. “No one artist could come close to paying the debt we owe to the Black originators of our modern music and their children and grandchildren…. I’ve tried to compensate for those inequities in both my public and private life. It hasn’t been enough.”
Aside from his personal contribution, Tweedy proposed an industry-wide “reparations initiative” that would allow songwriters and musicians alike to redirect a percentage of their revenue to organizations that support Black communities. He included Movement for Black Lives and Black Women’s Blueprint as just two of the empowering establishments where he’s donating his 5% slice. Although he claimed he didn’t “possess the expertise to manifest the initiative,” the 52-year-old songwriter suggested one way this could work would be to have artists check a box on their rights management contracts that state their interest in committing a part of their shares.
He specifically called on Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) and other PROs to implement this initiative he said could shift the music business and the world as a whole.
Read Tweedy’s entire statement below.