Bono and the rest of team behind the non-profit (RED) are to launch a new music subscription service this autumn with half of revenue going towards buying “life-saving medicine for those living with AIDS in Africa.”
For a small monthly fee, subscribers will be sent weekly updates, including tracks from established artists such as U2, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Emmylou Harris and Death Cab for Cutie, along with up and coming acts. Tracks are download to-own and offered as unprotected MP3s. Additionally, (RED) will pass on regular news of the charity’s work in Africa.
The new service was conceived by Don MacKinnon, founder of HEAR Music and former Vice President of Music & Entertainment of Starbucks Coffee Company, and currently President of (RED) Content.
“(RED) is such a powerful model,” said MacKinnon in a written statement. “The world’s best brands created (RED) products that have generated over $110 million.”
Fittingly, one such product is a special (RED) edition of Apple’s iPod.
“Don MacKinnon just might be the penicillin the ailing music business needs. He is an innovator by nature and I have no doubt that some of the music software we are working on at (RED) will help change the way music is received, as well as changing the lives of Africans who will die without the AIDS drug that (RED) can provide,” chimed in Bono.
For five dollars a month, members will receive weekly issues containing a selection of four elements:
- A (RED) SONG – an exclusive song from one of the world’s best artists.
- A Discovery – a great song by an emerging talent, selected by (RED).
- A “Crackerjack surprise” – a fun piece of non-music content (audio, video, text, images).
- Stories describing details of (RED) dollars being put to work in Africa.
To put the scheme into perspective, “just five subscribers will generate enough money annually to provide a person living with HIV with antiretroviral treatment for one year”, according to (RED).