Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Our projects begin by reaching out to our fellow non-profits across the world and analyzing where we would have the greatest resonance and opportunity for success, focusing on countries that have experienced recent destabilizing events. The communities we work in, therefore, have a great amount of potential in terms of large youth populations, rich cultural and artistic communities, burgeoning access to technology, but deeply entrenched poverty. The legal and political infrastructure is often fraught with nepotism and corruption, leading to a great deal of disenfranchisement.
Our experience with engagement has been extremely positive. Our first initiative was in Sierra Leone, a country that has had significant internal strife and that exhibits almost all of the characteristics listed above. Our following project was in the favelas of Recife, Brazil, where we worked mostly with young people. Growing up, they were intimately familiar with guns, drugs, and poverty, but with PeaceTones’ help, they have built a music studio to express themselves. We then began a project in Balan, a remote village in Haiti with a vibrant musical community. We initially planned to move to a different country following Balan, but following the Haitian earthquake of January 2010, we held another PeaceTones initiative in Port-au-Prince, which has been our most successful yet in terms of participation, publicity, and results for the artists themselves. Currently, we are in the beginning stages of a project in Kibera, Kenya.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
New Music Model: In an era when the behemoths of the music industry are struggling to sustain arcane business models, PeaceTones focuses on the cutting-edge tools independent musicians and record labels are using to get noticed, create a fan base, and be profitable. We subscribe to the Music+ model, giving customers more than just music, but a greater reason to buy. Every PeaceTones album comes with a story of talented musicians that struggle to make a living because war, poverty or natural disasters have inhibited their ability to be heard. PeaceTones customers buy our music not out of charity, but because they are getting a great product that is directly enabling an artist and their community to earn deserved income.
Trade Shift: We promote international commerce, but we buck two trends of trade: 1) profit-taking by middle-men; and 2) the belief that developing countries’ competitive advantage is in exporting natural resources, which are often concentrated in the nation’s affluent. PeaceTones teaches musicians to protect their rights and to sell their music online without a talent agent, promoter, or manager, by using social media marketing and direct-to-fan sales methods. The products we promote are based on intellectual property (e.g. unique musical compositions), goods usually attributed to developed nations. Our focus on digital, proprietary business ensures less profits going to intermediaries and production, less environmental impact, products with ongoing revenue streams, and product marketing and sales across national boundaries to a global audience.