Major music companies, labels and artists are calling for an industry ‘blackout’ on Tuesday 2nd June, in reaction to the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on May 25th after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
In a shared message on social media under the hashtag #THESHOWMUSTBEPAUSED, the likes of Warner, Universal, Virgin, Atlantic, Capitol, Sony, Columbia and Dirty Hit all announced that they will cease business for the day, instead calling for “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community".
Other music industry artists and figures to have shared the message include legendary composer and producer Quincy Jones, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, singer-songwriter Estelle and trip-hop icons Massive Attack.
Posting to Instagram, a statement from Columbia Records reads: ‘This is not a day off. Instead, this is a day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity.’ Universal quoted Martin Luther King in a post, while Capitol Records said they were taking part in ‘solidarity with our black colleagues, artists and loved ones across the country who are reeling from the senseless taking of another innocent Black life.’
Global electronic music platform Beatport said, however, that instead of ceasing business, they would donate all profits on Tuesday 2nd June to NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) ‘in an effort to help educate and illuminate the crisis faced in our communities… There is simply no time to pause for this cause’.
Some have outwardly criticised the blackout decision, including Grammy Award-winning producer and attorney Doug Davis, who said in a Twitter post: ‘To the music community planning a “blackout” or “pause” on Tuesday: Take that time to figure out how you’re going to immediately HIRE and ENPOWER BLACK LEADERSHIP at your very white corporations.’
Meanwhile, Calfornian-based record label Father/Daughter Records stated in a thread: ‘the point of this is not for kudos or likes. being silent, disconnecting from work, that does nothing. this IS work. we hope this motivates other record labels, people in the industry to use their platforms every single day, not just one random day.’