Hit Play, Listen to Music and Save Nature! Can It Be That Simple?

WRITTEN BY Szilvia Szabo

June 8, 2024

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Hit Play, Listen to Music and Save Nature! Can It Be That Simple?

Szilvia Szabo

8 Jun, 2024

Listening to the sharp cries of hyenas or the squeaking sounds of wild pigs in the new David Bowie “Get Real” remix could have been an artistic touch to bring out the typical edge we expect from his music. But in this case, it means so much more than a new beat.

A groundbreaking global initiative, Sounds Right, was recently launched by UN-Live to enable nature to generate conservation funding from her own sounds through a unique collaboration between international artists, nature sound libraries, renowned producers, creatives, and environmental groups who believe that music can be a powerful vessel to raise awareness and mobilise fans.

Brian Eno, renowned musician and songwriter, contributed to the campaign by creating the nature remix of “Get Real”, a track he co-wrote with David Bowie 30 years ago.

He said: “Music started out as the sounds of the natural world, and Sounds Right creates a system to give back to nature, helping to preserve the planet so that it can continue to inspire us for years to come.”

Nature has inspired many musicians and songs, and playlists featuring relaxing raindrops or the sounds of a forest, underwater creatures, or waves have almost two hundred thousand followers on Spotify.

However, until now, nature has never actually been recognised or benefited from its popularity and value for the music industry.


How can nature benefit from soundtracks?

Thanks to this initiative, “NATURE” has not only become an official artist with registered profiles on major audio streaming platforms but is also entitled to receive royalties and donations.

Listeners can become supporters and contribute to biodiversity or environmental restoration projects worldwide by simply playing tracks and enjoying music associated with the Sounds Right campaign or relaxing to nature sounds from ecosystem recordings provided by The Listening Planet and VozTerra audio platforms.

At least 50% of recording royalties from tracks with contributing artists will go towards a fund in addition to the 63% of recording royalties from ambient nature tracks on NATURE’s profile.

The organisers estimate that Sounds Right will generate over $40m for nature conservation projects, having over 600m individual listeners in its first four years, making this a significant contribution to global conservation efforts.


Which artists are involved with Sounds Right?

An impressive lineup of musicians from Venezuela, Denmark, Indonesia, the UK, Colombia, India, Norway, and the US is backing the initiative by creating new songs or remixes highlighting natural sounds from a wide range of ecosystems worldwide.

One of the headline artists involved, Ellie Goulding, shared that as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme, she saw this as a unique opportunity to spark change and inspire young people to connect with nature.

“Our ‘Feat. Nature’ remix of my track “Brightest Blue” uses sounds from ecosystems across Colombia, one of the most beautiful and biodiversity-rich environments on our wonderful planet. It’s places like these that will directly benefit from Sounds Right and be preserved for future generations,” said Goulding about her contribution.

Other artists also took a similar approach in creating tracks, like Anuv Jain’s “Baarishein,” which features the sounds of Indian rains, and Cosmo Sheldrake’s “Soil,” which pays homage to the powerful transformative and generative capacities of subterranean ecosystems.

Upcoming British rapper, music producer, and activist Louis VI felt the Sounds Right initiative was the perfect match for him as a self-labelled “nature nerd.” For the first time, he proudly added ”NATURE” as an officially featured artist to his Orange Skies track about climate change from the black and brown perspective.

He added: “So, what better way to use music than to protect the very music of nature itself? It’s the sounds of the birds, the water, the trees, the insects, the animals and the plants… it’s the song of a planet that’s infinitely alive; how arrogant are we that we would ever think to silence that!”

Contributing musicians involve AURORA, UMI with V of BTS, David Bowie x Brian Eno, MØ, London Grammar, Bomba Estéreo, Tom Walker, Aterciopelados, Blinky Bill, Navicula x Endah N Rhesa, and Los Amigos Invisibles as well.

Are you ready to tune in and make a difference?

Your choice to listen to these tracks will directly impact nature conservation and restoration efforts at places that need the most support.

To get involved and make a positive impact, all you need to do is hit play on the “Feat. NATURE” playlist on Spotify or other major streaming platforms.

Organisers of the campaigns will encourage fans to take follow-up actions and become part of the wider movement to generate change by recording morning birdsongs for biomonitoring or adopting sustainable lifestyle choices.

Other musicians are also invited to contribute and share their work, which features and credits “NATURE” as an official collaborating artist.


What is happening with the funds generated?

With the guidance of an advisory panel of climate experts, leading scientists and youth activists, the fund will be managed by the charity EarthPercent, which was set up in 2021 as the “music industry`s climate foundation” to raise money to support the climate movement and contribute to a just and green future for all.

Their role is to ensure that only projects with proven ecological and community impact models and robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks delivered by organisations with the right capabilities receive financial support from the Sounds Right initiative.

Priority will be given to projects that address the highest level of biodiversity and endemism in Key Biodiversity Areas identified by initial analysis in the regions of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands, Indo-Burma, India, Myanmar, Sundaland, the Philippines, the Tropical Andes, and the Atlantic Forest.


Who is behind the Sounds Right initiative?

The initiative was developed by the Museum for the United Nations – UN Live, an unconventional, borderless museum that embraces the power of popular culture and dialogue to inspire and engage people in a stronger sense of global belonging and positive action while promoting the goals, work, and values of the United Nations.

Katja Iversen, CEO of Museum for the United Nations – UN Live, shared why they took this approach with the Sounds Right campaign:

“Popular culture, like music, has the power to engage millions and millions of people, ignite positive global change at scale, and get us all on a more sustainable path.”

She further explained that “in a world where empathy is declining, and many people often feel that their actions hardly matter”, this campaign has the power to make an impact with stories and formats they can relate to and take actions that matter to them.

They brought the campaign alive by working in close collaboration with a diverse range of strategic partners such as EarthPercent, AKQA, Hempel Foundation, Dalberg, Count Us In, Music Declares Emergency, Earthrise, Community Arts Network, Limbo Music, LD Communications, No. 29, and Rare among others.

As a global leader streaming service provider, Spotify also supports Sounds Right by promoting the campaign on its platforms and offering a charitable donation to the fund for nature conservation.

Organisers have joined forces with other organisations, including The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, APCO, Riky Rick Foundation and AWorld x ActNow, to inspire millions of music fans to become part of the solution to protect endangered species and habitats and restore nature.


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