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New Global Music Initiative Highlights the Creative Value of Nature

Sounds Right aims to finally pay Nature royalties for her contributions to art and everything else on earth by prompting conversation, raising funds for conservation and inspiring millions of fans to take action.

The Museum for the United Nations’ UN Live has launched Sounds Right — a global music initiative that enables Nature to generate conservation funding from her own sounds. The initiative aims to spark a global conversation about the value of Nature and support millions of music fans to take meaningful action to protect our planet.

Sounds Right was developed and delivered in close partnership with musicians, creatives and nature-sound recordists, as well as environmental, campaigning and global advocacy organizations. With timeless classic sounds such as ocean waves, wind, rainstorms and birdsong, Nature has a long history of contributing to music. Now, “Nature” will be recognized as an official artist with her own profile on major streaming platforms. By simply listening to music that features sounds of the natural world, UN Live says fans will help to fund Nature conservation and restoration projects in our most precious and precarious ecosystems.

“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,” said UN Live CEO Katja Iversen. “In a world where empathy is declining and many people often feel that their actions hardly matter, Sounds Right and UN Live meet people where they already are — on their screens and in their earbuds — with stories and formats they can relate to, and actions that matter to them. Recognizing Nature as the valuable artist it truly is will be a game changer."

From Colombia to India by way of Norway, Venezuela, Kenya, Denmark, UK, US and Indonesia, a truly global selection of artists took part — releasing new tracks or remixing hits to “Feat. Nature” by including sounds from a vast range of ecosystems all over the world. Fans can also relax with ambient nature sounds — ecosystem recordings from The Listening Planet and VozTerra — with a significant portion of royalties directed to high-impact conservation initiatives.

Ellie Goulding’s “Brightest Blue — Nature Remix” uses sounds from the lush rainforests of Colombia recorded by VozTerra. Brian Eno’s new mix of his David Bowie collaboration, “Get Real,” features the cries of hyenas, rooks and wild pigs; while **Anuv Jain’**s “Baarishein” features the sounds of Indian rains, and Cosmo Sheldrake’s "Soil" is a homage to the generative capacities of subterranean ecosystems. Louis VI collaborated with acoustic ecologist and Listening Planet and Biophonica founder Martyn Stewart for “Orange Skies” — a track also featuring artists Mick Jenkins and Jelani Blackman that focuses on the environmental destruction caused by forest fires, with sounds from the Borneo rainforest.

As Eno told the BBC: "It's a way of saying to artists, 'We all use sounds like seagulls and waves and wind. Why don't we pay Nature a royalty?' Hopefully it'll be a river, or a torrent, or a flood of royalties — and then what we do is distribute that among groups of people who are working on projects to help us deal with the future."

All tracks can be enjoyed on the “Feat. Nature” playlist on Spotify and the tracks can be found on major music streaming platforms.

The goal of this evergreen initiative is to activate fans, raise funds, spark a global conversation about how we value nature, and inspire a sense of agency in our collective efforts to protect the planet. Fans will be encouraged to take follow-up actions to conserve nature — such as recording morning birdsong for biomonitoring and adopting sustainable behaviors — all helping to build a wider movement for change. Sounds Right knowledge partners project the initiative will generate over $40 million for conservation with over 600m individual listeners in its first four years.

Sounds Right comes at a critical time. Wildlife populations have declined by an average 69 percent in the past 50 years, at least 1.2 million plant and animal species are estimated to be at threat of extinction, and biodiversity has been added to the list of critical sustainability considerations for the corporate world. Sounds Right looks to flip our extractive relationship with nature on its head while recognizing Nature’s contribution to the creative industries.

“Biocultural heritage will greatly benefit from music royalties and donations,” said Mindahi Bastida, leader of the Otomi-Toltec people and Sounds Right Expert Advisory Panel Member. “In a way, it is about paying back to life systems that have inspired the human spirit through the magic of sound. The time has come to live in permanent reciprocity.”

UN Live says Sounds Right is not a one-off, but the start of a broader push for Nature — with inbuilt heart beats, regular track releases, and discussions about the value of nature across the globe The initiative creates a new, credible and scalable finance mechanism to capture music royalties and distribute them to high-impact conservation projects around the world and will spark conversations about how Nature can — and should — be valued in our society and economic models.

The initiative was developed by UN Live in close collaboration with a unique coalition of partners including AKQA, Axum, Biophonica, Community Arts Network, Count Us In, Dalberg, EarthPercent, Earthrise, Eleutheria Group, Hempel Foundation, LD Communications, Limbo Music, The Listening Planet, Music Declares Emergency, No. 29, Rare and VozTerra.

Spotify is supporting Sounds Right through a charitable donation to the Sounds Right fund managed by EarthPercent — the music industry’s climate foundation — and by promoting the campaign through its app, OOH media and social channels to aid nature conservation. Sounds Right has been developed in consultation with the UN Department for Communications, and is joining forces with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, APCO, Riky Rick Foundation and AWorld x ActNow to encourage millions of music fans around the globe to recognize the value of Nature and to inspire them to take action.

“It's been fantastic to see so many brilliant artists excited to engage creatively with the sounds of Nature and supportive of Sounds Right's core objective to see that Nature is fairly compensated for her musical contributions,” said Cathy Runciman, Co-Executive Director of EarthPercent. “We know that many artists care deeply about protecting and restoring Nature and it's a privilege to launch these collaborations via the Feat. Nature playlist and together generate positive impact for biodiversity.”

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