Last week, I received an email from Ian Urbina, and it was the first I had heard of his ongoing project The Outlaw Ocean, and the outreach of The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. Read on for some more information about this exciting effort, and episode 3 of The Weekly Catch, which features music from 3 of the top electronic music producers in the world right now. But first, some context (narrated by MDK).
Cover photo courtesy of Trinix.
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project portrays stories from the lawless oceans through original music via genres such as hip-hop, electronic, classical, and more. The project is doing incredible things. It has converted Spotify into a journalistic platform (since we are now able to host videos to the audiences that we reach via music). The collective listenership we have across our signed artists is 80 million.
What emerged quickly from my experience with this project is a sense of empowerment - with such massive partisan divisions in the world of politics right now, there is something both refreshing and exciting about a project like this that is doing such an amazing job of pulling people together. Feeling personally invested in this project is a no-brainer: the ocean belongs to all of us. Ian Urbina has leveraged his success as an investigative journalist for the New York Times, and after an award-winning series of articles and a bestselling book release last year, has initiated an unusual melding of journalism, art, and advocacy.
News outlets globally have pulled back from covering the oceans. It's simply too expensive, dangerous and time-consuming. Meanwhile, a crisis is intensifying in the forgotten two thirds of the planet. To bridge this gap, The Outlaw Ocean is seeking funding to take their reporting forward in an ongoing capacity to continue producing high-impact investigative stories on topics such as illegal and destructive fishing practices, ocean dumping and pollution, marine protected areas, as well human trafficking and labor abuses that will move international audiences in print, TV, film, and radio. The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, in partnership with hundreds of music-makers from around the world, is part of a massive outreach project which now has backing from Spotify, Pandora and Warner Music Group, and has been covered by NPR, Billboard Magazine, Complex and various other news outlets.
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project has already published over 150 albums, garnered more than a million streams, and still has 250 more albums to publish in the next 12 months. Each musician is making his or her own album about ocean issues, and using their own music as conversation-starter in order to build awareness in their own communities. All of the music is topically and emotionally inspired by, and drawn from, Urbina's best-selling book, but the musicians are also integrating actual samples (ambient) and sound bites (prose) from the reporting itself.
Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching. – The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier
The breadth and quality of artistic expression available from the Outlaw Ocean website is truly stunning - from an animated rendering of fisherman in North Korea, to details about a massive fleet of unsanctioned Chinese fishing boats, and much more, the work being done here is intense and critically important.
Part of what The Outlaw Ocean Project seeks to do is not just produce polished narrative investigative journalism, but also convert that journalism into new forms in order to reach new audiences.
Collectively, we can directly impact the stewardship of the world's largest and most important resource. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to this project. Your children will thank you, as will the more than three billion people who rely on the ocean every day for their livelihoods.
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project playlist.
Monty Datta - Sailing Towards the Sunset, Drift Away, and Empty Sky.
Trinix - Bad Things, Kuala Lumpur
7apes - Shepherd, Siren Song, Patterns
Featuring music by Monty Datta, Trinix, and 7apes