The Music Aid Story –


Music Aid launched in 1998 with support from some of the biggest names in music and media at an event attended by over 100,000 people in central London. USA Today described this as “one of the most important new launches in music and media” and awarded Website Of The Year Award. Since then Music Aid has worked with The United Nations, the BBC, Net Aid, the Live Earth event and many other events, organizations and partner to support good causes.

Music Aid is based on its simple official mission of “making the world a better place through music”. It works directly with young people and those in need with its own projects and programs and also works in partnership with major organizations, charities, causes and brands worldwide. Music is always at the core of everything it does. “Improving lives – powered by music” is its rallying cry.

Music Aid´s direct work includes Child Aid programs with children in need, Street Aid programs for the homeless, School Aid projects providing teachers in underprivileged communities, villages, towns and schools worldwide, and partnerships with established charities, causes and brands to increase its reach.

Partnerships with organizations and brands have included the BBC Instrument Amnesty project, promotion of the Live Earth concerts event in the USA, managing hundreds of UN volunteers for the United Nations UNV program, partnership on the African Diaspora project, retail partnerships with Amazon, Apple Music and iTunes, partnerships with The UK Songwriting Contest and other music events, with music resource services including the SCO Song Copyright Organization and the leading music submissions platform, and support for any and all fundraising efforts on behalf of UNICEF.

World Concert Day is an annual event where artists, concert promoters and ticket retailers raise funds to support local and national charities and hospices and support UNICEF, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and anti-pollution and health initiatives. In 2020 this was an online only event due to lockdowns and planned concert cancellations. This may also be the case in 2021 as many of the large concerts on April 26 may be cancelled or postponed.

Music Aid Day on 12 December is an annual event where music businesses and artists pledge a percentage of sales revenue from online music sales and other retail activities to directly support those in greatest need at Christmas time. It is a day to remember and keep alive the true spirit and meaning of Christmas and the emphasis is on helping others with the music we love over the Christmas season and beyond.

The Music Aid Organization was launched in 1998 and operated as a registered charity foundation for seven years before changing status in 2005 to that of a Non-Profit Social Enterprise – the same modern organizational model now used by Oxfam International, The Red Cross,, The Big Issue etc.

The organization was inspired by conversations between its founder, British producer Alan Hardman, and legendary rock guitarist Carlos Santana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the week long Rock In Rio 2 event at the Maracaná Stadium. While backstage at the Stadium and at the Copacabana Palace Hotel during that week, the two men discovered that they shared a passionate interest in the different ways that music could be used for good. They shared ideas for setting up organizations and discussed what could be achieved, how they could do this, and what directions they could take. Carlos returned to the USA and formed the Milagro Foundation, and Alan returned to London to form Music Aid (both launched at the same time in 1998).

The Music Aid launch event was a seven day festival in Central London and Alan staged it using the entire third floor and other sections of the huge Whiteley´s complex in London´s Bayswater. The event was sponsored by Whiteley´s, AOL and Tower Records, and supported by friendly celebrities including Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and others who donated original artwork and memorabilia in support. Hundreds of items on display and for sale included guitars and album covers signed by Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Oasis, Nirvana, Bono and many others and original artwork from Andy Warhol and John Lennon and other major artists. With daily live music and dance performances and over 100,000 visitors this was an exciting start for the organization. Many celebrities and musicians were in the crowds, enjoying the exhibitions, meeting each other, bringing personal memorabilia, and sometimes buying each others items (film director Peter Howitt for example was quick to buy some rare early Beatles photographs).

Music Aid´s mission is simple: To make the world a better place through music. And its motto is: Improving lives – powered by music. The funds raised from the launch event helped children in need and provided hundreds of poor village children in SE Asia with school shoes (many children did not attend school because the parents could not afford the black shoes demanded by local schools), school uniforms, school bags, books. Many children started school for the first time, and in cases where families were in debt to the school, outstanding school fees and charges were payed for them. In 2021 Music Aid returns to the same region, when Covid-19 restrictions allow, to establish a permanent Music Aid center (to be named in honor of an Indonesia team member who carried on Music Aid´s work in the region and lost her life in the German Wings Flight 9525 Barcelona / Dusseldorf airline tragedy). Other projects included work with street children and their homeless parents, partnership with UNV United Nations Volunteers providing support for thousands of United Nations and Net Aid volunteers working in poverty relief worldwide, partnership with the BBC and others providing musical instruments to underprivileged children in the joint Instrument Amnesty Project, promotions with the Al Gore Live Earth event, the founding and launch of the annual World Concert Day benefit event, Music Aid Day and more. Music Aid is currently expanding a global program providing free music education, teachers and resources to underprivileged children and adults in classes, schools and communities worldwide.

Browse this website to learn more about Music Aid´s direct work with those in need and the important causes it supports. Musicians and artists will find many opportunities to join us and boost their careers while helping others. Volunteers, partners, producers, web developers, charities, brands and causes who would like to join and work with Music Aid are welcome to contact Music Aid International using the contact form on this website.

Music Aid relies on the support of music lovers to continue its work. If you wish to contribute and donate as a supporter you will find details on the donations page.

Where words fail, music speaks

Hans Christian Anderson

And, in the end
the love you take
is equal to the love you make.”

Paul McCartney

Together, we can do this.”

Music Aid