- A CHANGE MUST COME
- Jun 01
By Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Honoring African-Americans’ pioneering contributions to the nation’s cultural history, Black Music Month opens today, June 1. With racial strife rumbling across our country as I write this, I am struggling to reconcile the conflicting realities of the universal appreciation of Black music and the devaluation of Black life, George Floyd’s videotaped killing being the latest of recurring tragic examples.
I have wanted to comment on the events of this past week however, knowing that my voice will be particularly resounding, I was obliged to be especially introspective and unhurried. Why do my words ring unusually louder? Look no farther than my skin and position.
I am the only Black CEO of a global major music company.
So, to speak out on Mr. Floyd’s senseless murder is my obligation. Not to would be my irresponsibility. But figuring out what to say was a challenge. My own pain has been so paralyzing. For me, stating ‘I stand with the Black community’ would never be enough. But in due time, I found the words.
For many of my colleagues, in our business dealings, we are targets for unfounded assumptions by people whose unspoken questioning of whether we belong is written on their faces.
Outside of work, we must cope with debilitating anxiety inflicted by law enforcement, a burden that many in the Black community have shouldered since we were children. Profiling poses a constant threat, multiplying the opportunities for tragic outcomes.
“New normal” is a reference that has taken hold in society with the global pandemic. But the phrase should be about more than adjustments to our workplaces, commutes and social distancing. It must reflect a reset of respect for each other as human beings.
As a music community, we are anchored at the heart of Black culture, and our industry has an unrivaled role and responsibility to help lead society out of crisis and onto the path of true justice and equality.
Music companies have rushed to pledge solidarity with the Black community since the atrocity committed against Mr. Floyd. But I often remind my team of a fact that might seem odd for a music man to point out: “People see better than they hear.” Timely action must follow the industry’s lyrics. Otherwise, words are ultimately empty.
We must create a platform that provides each and every colleague the encouragement for true self-expression. For people of color, this means the comfort to connect, mourn and heal in authentic ways that might be unfamiliar to, or uncomfortable for, some colleagues. But I encourage you to lean into that discomfort.
Our industry covers every genre of music and is welcoming to new creations. Inside our companies, the workforce should be equally diverse. My dream is for our companies to be an orchestra of races, creeds and colors.
During Black Music Month, we recognize a spectrum of songs from Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ to Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’—tunes rooted in pain, yet lighting a path forward. Let’s follow their lead.
- From Rob Stringer: In Response to Sony’s COVID-19 Global Relief Fund
- Apr 02
Following the announcement of Sony Corporation’s COVID-19 Global Relief Fund, Sony Music Group Chairman Rob Stringer sent a personal note to all SMG employees. To continue our efforts of transparency and togetherness during this time of isolation and social distancing, Stringer’s note is shared below in full.
We are well into another eventful week working from home at much of our company and I wanted to take a quick moment to directly communicate with you again.
It continues to be incredibly heartening to see how our Sony Music family has mobilized during this time. These are times that reveal our true character, and at every turn you are demonstrating what I already know: that we are a company made up of compassionate, caring and creative business people.
While many of us are staying inside, you’ve continued to reach outward, offering assistance to colleagues and neighbors in need, even as your own families adjust to our new normal. At the same time, our artists and songwriters haven’t skipped a beat either, teaming up with a number of global charities to raise money with concerts livestreamed from their living rooms as they encourage fans to donate to regional and international relief efforts. It’s a reminder of the power of music to bring people together and through hard times.
I know we’re all searching for more opportunities to help those directly affected by the crisis inside and outside the music community and I’m proud that our company is doing its part. As you saw, earlier today, Sony Corp announced the launch of its new Sony Global Relief Fund, a $100 million fund dedicated to bringing relief to medical workers on the front lines worldwide; protecting children and educators facing challenges arising from school closures; and supporting creators, artists and other partners in the entertainment community who have been impacted by COVID-19.
I am also pleased that we are introducing a matching donation program across our entire organization for employees. This means we will match your donations made to select pandemic relief efforts around the world and more details will be shared in the coming days.
In the past week, the level of collaboration between the Music Group and Sony Corp to develop this initiative has been inspiring teamwork-wise, but I want to assure you that these steps are just the beginning of our response efforts.
We are working together with your leaders and Sony Corp at the highest level to continue to evolve our response accordingly in the coming weeks and months locally and globally. We’re lucky to have team members across the globe committed to helping their communities in addition to our artists and songwriters, and I look forward to working with you all to support those impacted by COVID-19.
This week marks the start of our new fiscal year. Of course, like every business affected by this crisis, we now know that the next 12 months will bring challenges unlike any we’ve experienced before. Nevertheless, I am confident that we have what it takes to overcome the headwinds we’re facing as long as we remain focused on our values and continue building on our strengths. Whatever lies ahead, we will continue to put our employees, artists, and songwriters first in every action we take.
Thanks to each and every one of you for continuing to check in and collaborate with each other as we navigate this new and ever-changing reality. This unscheduled break from our routines is a valuable reminder to all of us to prioritize what matters most in life: the health and safety of us and our loved ones. I hope you will keep finding new ways to stay connected, stay well, and stay positive in the days and weeks ahead.
- Sony Establishes $100 Million COVID-19 Global Relief Fund
- Apr 02
Sony Music Entertainment is the company it is today because of its artists, employees and label partners. As news develops surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, Sony Music is committed to supporting our own organization as well as organizations dedicated to providing relief efforts during this difficult time.
Today, Sony Corp announced a $100 million Global Relief Fund to support those around the world affected by the COVID-19 virus. The Global Fund is designed to bring relief to medical workers on the front lines; protect children and educators facing challenges arising from school closures; and support creators, artists and other partners in the entertainment community who have been impacted by COVID-19.
As Sony continues to develop its global response efforts, we are proud to support the below organizations initially:
- The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation
- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
In addition to an employee matching giving program across the entire Sony organization so that each donation goes farther, the Company has also participated in the music industry’s efforts to provide resources for music professionals impacted by COVID-19. More information can be found at MusicCovidRelief.com
During this challenging time, Sony Music’s artists continue to team up with global charities to raise money with concerts livestreamed from their living rooms, encouraging fans to donate to regional and international relief efforts.
And this is just the beginning.
We will continue to evolve our response accordingly in the coming weeks and months. And, we continue our work to support our artists and employees, highlighting the power of music to bring people together and through hard times.
Read more from Sony Music Group Chairman, Rob Stringer, here.