Wilco's Jeff Tweedy Commits 5% of Writer's Revenue to Racial Justice Organizations

"Thousands of us committing to a reparations initiative could change our business and the world we live in"
Wilco's Jeff Tweedy Commits 5% of Writer's Revenue to Racial Justice Organizations
Photo: Whitten Sabbatini
Wilco's Jeff Tweedy has committed to donating 5 percent of his songwriter's revenue to racial justice organizations and is urging fellow musicians and publishing bodies, including BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, to do the same.

Tweedy made the announcement in a lengthy post today, reiterating how the modern music industry "is built almost entirely on Black art."

"The wealth that rightfully belonged to Black artists was stolen outright and to this day continues to grow outside their communities," he writes. "No one artist could come close to paying the debt we owe to the Black originators of our modern music and their children and grandchildren."

Tweedy goes on to propose "a program that allows songwriters and musicians to direct a percentage of their 'writer's share' revenue to organizations that assist and support Black communities. This could take the shape of a box to check on rights management contracts, putting it at the foundation of our business. Or it could take another shape entirely."

The Wilco leader admits that while he doesn't "possess the expertise to manifest this initiative," he can "begin to do my part by committing 5% of my writer revenue to organizations that are working toward racial justice, which include but are not limited to Movement for Black Lives and Black Women's Blueprint."

Tweedy concludes by putting out a call to "BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, and all other organizations that collect and disburse songwriter's royalties" to look at implementing such a program.

"To industry leaders: please join me in forming a coalition. My small contribution alone is a sincere but insufficient gesture," he writes. "Hundreds of us joining together could provide some tremendous relief. Thousands of us committing to a reparations initiative could change our business and the world we live in. Black Lives Matter."

You can read Tweedy's complete statement below.

Lately, he's been covering Pavement and Talking Heads on livestreams with his sons, and is also scoring a documentary from Alex Winter. In April, Tweedy joined Mavis Staples on new song "All In It Together." May saw Wilco share new tune "Tell Your Friends."