• The Glitch Mob’s music aids disaster relief

    Ed Ma, Josh Mayer and Justin Boreta of The Glitch Mob

    By Nonagon

    Re-posted courtesy of BenevolentBeats.org

    As one of the club scene’s most recognized and respected acts, The Glitch Mob has exploded from local performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco to international renown for their distinctive sound and compelling live show. Founded in 2006, the group today is composed of accomplished solo producers Ed Ma (edIT), Justin Boreta (Boreta) and Josh Mayer (Ooah). Their 2010 debut album “Drink the Sea” hit #1 on the iTunes Electronic Chart, and peaked on the CMJ Top 200 for college radio at #57.

    The Glitch Mob’s ever-increasing exposure has opened new avenues for promoting positive change outside of the realm of music, and its members have embraced these opportunities wholeheartedly, donating all proceeds from their two-volume remix album to relief organizations in Haiti, raffling off back-stage passes to their Chicago show in exchange for donations in service of Japanese residents displaced by the recent earthquake and tsunami, and volunteering at the APCH after school program teaching music in South Central LA.

    We caught up with the trio via email during their ongoing US tour to find out more about their efforts to use music to improve the world around them- read on to find out what they’ve been up to and to cull a few tips on how artists at all levels can do the same.

    BB: As a group, what got you started on the path to charitable giving through music and performance?

    The Glitch Mob: We have always been firm believers in the power of music to carry a message. It has the ability to travel right from a speaker directly into the soul. The power is clear.

    With that said, philanthropy has not always been a part of what we do. The issues were on our mind and we had been looking for an effective way to get involved. A serendipitous meeting with our now good friend Brandon who works at Causecast really set everything in motion. Download to Donate is a company that he works with that is creating infrastructure for artists to easily donate music to a cause. We also want it to be easy for our fans to get the music while raising awareness, so this was a great match.

    Prior to your recent show in Chicago, you raffled off a few ticket bundles to fans that sent you a receipt proving that they’d donated to Japanese relief efforts. How was the response? Do you think giveaways like this are an effective approach to raising money for charity compared to more “traditional” approaches (e.g. portions of album sale income, exclusive track sales, etc)?

    It worked pretty well, but I wouldn’t say it was a smashing success. Something turns off in people when they see the word “donate.” Which is part of the problem. But all the more reason for us to keep trying out new things. It’s usually pretty easy for acts to scrape together some extra guest list slots — and why not use them to create some awareness and donations?

    Which organizations have you found most useful in helping you execute your fund raising goals? You mentioned Causecast and Download to Donate, for example.

    The goal of Download to Donate is to set up a system where artists can easily donate music. Fans then subscribe and get access to all of the music on the site. It’s a powerfully simple idea. They are doing a great job at making a portal where there’s lots of good music constantly coming in.

    We released an entire two-volume remix album with them and the experience was great. The music got out into the world and we raised some money for Haiti.

    For lesser-known artists trying to use their work to support a cause, trust can be a major stumbling block: if people are uncertain about whether you’ll do what you say you will (e.g. donate album sale proceeds to charity) they’re much less likely to participate. The issue is probably less severe for better-known artists like yourselves, but name recognition aside, have you had to take any particular steps to earn your fans’ trust when it comes to making donations?

    Charity can be a very personal thing. We do a lot of research which charities to support, but we are not experts. We do our best to find reliable sources. If people don’t trust the sources that we come up with, that’s fine. The bigger picture is that people are paying attention to what’s going on right now and getting involved.

    Given your experiences thus far, do you have any other thoughts or advice for artists interested in using their work to support charitable causes?

    Check out Download to Donate. If you feel strongly about an issue — don’t be afraid to speak up and get involved. The world needs you right now.

    The Glitch Mob’s music to aid disaster relief