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One of the cornerstones of the Healing in Harmony model is the treatment of our beneficiaries as artists. We strongly feel that the role of the artist in society can be a powerful tool in the restoration of an individual’s self-worth and dignity regardless of socio-economic status. One of our key roles in this model and program is the formal dissemination of the music created by our artists, thus forging new advocates, emboldening others and reducing stigma in the wider community. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) our dissemination chain is formalized and robust given the context we operate in. Physical CDs are made with covers designed by our artists and are in-turn distributed throughout the local community and the songs performed at sold-out community concerts and broadcast on local radio stations to approximately 5 million active listeners. Despite all of this, we were lacking the same gravitas and reach in our dissemination channels in the western world. If we truly viewed our beneficiaries as credible artists it became critically apparent that we must address this gap.

Artist in Bukavu lyric writing. Credit: Make Music Matter

To that end, Make Music Matter has teamed up with Warner Music Canada to create Samothrace Records and Publishing, a record label and publishing company to support our artists and give them the outlet their art warrants. Since our launch on 12 January 2018, seven albums from the back catalogue and a promoted playlist on Spotify have been released. All musical output from Healing in Harmony can now be accessed globally through digital storefronts such as itunes and streaming services including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Google Play to name a few. We also have created in tandem with partners Panzi Foundation USA and DRC a new license that more concretely addresses the intellectual property associated with the master recordings and publishing of the songwriter’s work. This represented an important step in articulating that their songs represent a concrete piece of work that has a quantifiable value to it such as any other artist on any major record label. We are thrilled to insert this value-added component in our artists’ healing journey, which amplifies their voice to tell their stories directly at a truly global level. To me, great music and art comes from a place of authenticity and our artists in the DRC display this song after song in a beautiful form of empowered vulnerability, bridging the gap between local to global.

Artists in Mulamba. Credit: Make Music Matter

In Canada, we have had a flurry of attention since the launch of the label including participating in Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, the Junos. Warner Music Canada hosted an exclusive after party with music icons such as Michael Bublé. Throughout the course of the evening our music was played and highlighted in a speech by Warner Music Canada’s President. We are now looking forward with our partnership with Warner by exploring the use of their roster of well-known musicians to start advocating for our artists publicly and deepening our ties with streaming services such as Spotify to give free advertising in promoted playlists.

Please see below some of initial releases from our artists in DRC:

https://va.lnk.to/MonEP

https://va.lnk.to/kesho

http://www.makemusicmatter.org/warner-music-canada-partners-make-music-matter

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