The Music Industry Is Calling for a “Blackout” Today. What Does That Mean?

The music industry is “BLACKING OUT” today in response to the deep racial unrest, after recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and “countless other Black citizens at the hands of police.”

It’s an initiative that started on social media called #TheShowMustBePaused . . . and it’s meant to be “a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective, and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”

Def Jam, Interscope, Columbia Records, Island Records, Sony/ATV, Capitol, Republic, Warner Music Group, BMG, UMG, and independent distributor EMPIRE are among the record labels who have joined in.

But it’s unclear exactly what is happening.  There are a lot of strong sentiments about the racism and protests . . . and there are promises to formulate more specific directives in the future . . . but there’s no clear definition for now.

Some labels have given employees the day off . . . others aren’t putting out music this week . . . others are canceling programming, like radio shows . . . and there are some who are donating to causes and working with non-profits.

On the flip side, there are some musicians and music insiders that believe the Black Out day is ill-advised.

Those opposed say that instead of seeing useful content when you click on #BlackLivesMatter, all you see is…nothing. Just black squares, and that is counterproductive.

Personally, I agree Lil Nas X and Sade. I’m far from an expert on the matter, and I’ll all for movements of solidarity, but it would seem to me conversation and sharing of ideas is far more productive than stepping back and remaining silent, even if well-intentioned.

But I’m literally the LAST person who should speak on this subject. I have no authority here. None. I’m someone who needs to listen more than talk.