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November 24, 2010

Uniting Musicians, Industry and Fans

Green Music Group brings all parties to the table in the push for environmental awareness

By Andrew Campanella

Two participants of the Green Music Group Challenge say "no" to plastic bottles in favor of reusable containers

Two participants of the Green Music Group Challenge say "no" to plastic bottles in favor of reusable containers

Launched in January 2010 under Adam and Lauren Gardner's Reverb umbrella of forward- thinking music organizations, Green Music Group is a coalition of musicians, industry leaders and music fans united in the push for environmental education. Reverb itself is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with unprecedented experience in implementing and executing greening initiatives within the music industry. Founding members of Green Music Group, from Bonnie Raitt to Dave Matthews Band to Paramore, all recognize the need to raise awareness in the name of sustainability in the music industry and beyond.

Earlier this year, all nine founding artists participated in the GMG Challenge, calling fans to step up and take action in nine bi-weekly challenges. Every two weeks an environmental challenge was issued by one of the GMG founding artists with a video PSA. Dave Matthews Band's Stefan Lessard asked participants to volunteer with a non-profit in their local area, while Bonnie Raitt challenged the community to ditch disposables in favor of reusable water bottles. Guster's Adam Gardner asked fans to eat local, and Sheryl Crow asked the group to support positive environmental legislation. Thousands of photos were submitted as participants captured themselves meeting each task.

Judges awarded winners with snowboards, guitars, gift certificates, and more. Each entry into one of the nine bi-weekly challenges also entered fans into a random drawing for the grand prize, a Honda Insight Hybrid. This combination of green-friendly fan incentives with forward-thinking, high-profile artists allowed GMG to reach a broad audience – music fans and environmental advocates alike took part, making a series of small changes to their everyday lives.

The GMG Challenge is just one ofmany outreach programs organized by Green Music Group. Moving forward, they will be coordinating with a different non-profit each month, spotlighting that non-profit's campaign to the GMG audience.

Green Music Group's first joint venture is a partnership with HeadCount, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing voter registration and inspiring participation in democracy through the power ofmusic. Their goal is to help shape policy and culture in America by galvanizing the music community (artists and fans alike) into a politically influential force. Recent HeadCount initiatives include the production and promotion of Jay-Z's Vote Again 2010 PSA (http://bit.ly/cXisiq) and the launch of their Pledge To Vote campaign, where fans will receive reminder-to-vote phone calls from musicians including Adam Gardner, Brett Dennen, Grace Potter, Matt Berninger (The National), Willie Nelson, ?uestlove and Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips) to urge people to pledge and register to vote.

Zooming out from fan outreach to a wider scope, Green Music Group is taking large steps to provide an environmentally-sustainable framework for the entire music industry. Recognizing the need to help define the word "green," GMG is currently developing a series of greening guidelines aimed at helping artists, venues, tours, radio stations, labels and others in the music industry standardize greening practices. Greening standards for future Green Music Group artists are in development. Eventually, environmentallyconscious artists will have to meet these guidelines involving ground and air transportation, backstage and catering needs and venue energy use to becomemembers of their organization. Green Music Group's goal is to complete this first part of the industry-wide framework by early next year, approximately one year after the organization was founded.

Venue and label guidelines will be rolled out afterwards, projected for completion by summer 2011 and spring 2012, respectively. As membership becomes more open, GMG will be providing Green Grants to smaller bands and musicians who may not have the resources to go green on their own. By establishing this solid backbone of artists, venues and labels all united in the same goal and using the same practices, Green Music Group sets a precedent for future social and environmental initiatives within the music industry.

Founding Artists
•Dave Matthews Band
•Maroon 5
•Sheryl Crow
•The Roots
•Bonnie Raitt
•Barenaked Ladies
•Guster
•Honda Civic Tour (added Sept 2010)
•Paramore (added Sept 2010)

Founding Labels
•Warner Music Group
•Brushfire Records

Venues
•Shoreline Ampitheatre (Mountain View, CA)
•American Airlines Arena (Miami, FL)
•Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)
•Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA)
•Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn, NY)
•Verizon Wireless Music Center (Noblesville, IN)