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Spotify recognises Nature as an artist


Birds chirping in the forest, waves crashing in the ocean, and the sound of thunderstorms are some of nature’s beloved symphonies. These sounds are inseparable from the human experience not only as they have proven to be beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing, but also because they’re believed to have played an instrumental role in the evolution of human-made music.

Drawing from this idea, Sounds Right, an initiative led by the Museum for the United Nations, has collaborated with Spotify to recognise Nature as an artist in its own right, letting it earn royalties that will be used for its own conservation. The project launched in the lead up to Earth Day and currently offers three types of playlists.

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The first one, “Feat. NATURE”, is a playlist featuring renowned artists from across the globe. Listeners can hear beloved tracks from their favorite musicians remixed with captivating nature sounds. In David Bowie’s “Get Real,” for example, renowned composer Brian Eno, who co-wrote the song with Bowie over three decades ago, mixes the tracks with animal howls. 

“The animals are invading the song – it’s like it has sprung leaks everywhere and these animals are coming in through every window and crack between the doors. They’re sort of threatening — suddenly Nature has crept into the art,” Eno said in a press statement. To him, this project is a simple act of ensuring that the original source of inspiration remains intact.

“Throughout my life I’ve wondered — how can I return something to the places I’ve taken ideas from? 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.”

The second type of playlists are ambient nature symphonies where listeners can enjoy the soothing sounds of nature, such as “Tropical Rain Sounds” or a playlist called “Seascape Symphony”. There’s also something for the podcast lovers; playlists like “Food For Thought,” “Money Talks,” and “Cut Food Waste” feature podcasts episodes dedicated to climate solutions.

So, where’s all that revenue going? 60 percent of royalties from ambient tracks on Nature’s Spotify profile, as well as least 50 percent of revenues from Feat. NATURE tracks to be donated to biodiversity conservation and restoration projects. On top of that, Sounds Right also welcomes individual donations on its GoFundMe page.

The funds will be collected by the U.S. and UK-registered charity EarthPercent, while their distribution will be decided by representatives of Indigenous Peoples, scientists, conservation experts, and environmental activists who are part of the Sounds Right Expert Advisory Panel. The Panel has announced that it will prioritise projects with a strong focus on biodiversity and endemism, while an initial analysis has identified Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands, the Atlantic Forest, and the Philippines as some Key Biodiversity Areas it will be looking to support.

There has long been a discourse on whether streaming is harmful for the environment or not. However, by giving Nature credit (and notably, revenue) for its symphonies and sounds, Sounds Right offers a way to turn music streaming into meaningful climate action. The project adds to the growing argument that to successfully restore our relationship with Nature, we should perhaps, give it legal and creative rights.





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