Joplin Benefit Album Gets its Start on Twitter, Comes Out Tomorrow

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Courtesy of Zach Becker
Zach Becker is what you'd call a big-picture person. The 29-year-old, currently somewhere between looking for jobs and considering a return to college, frequently comes up with big ideas, but there's some question about how often they come to fruition. Two days after Joplin was devastated by tornadoes, Becker was hit with his most recent one: a music sampler.

"As some of the panoramic pictures were coming through, you just can't look at that and not feel something," Becker says. "I looked at it and really wanted to do something but didn't know how."

It might sound like a strange idea to call a "big" one, but Becker's mix of music, Songs for #Joplin, will go through several stages of production before it hits the Internet Friday as a way to donate money toward the Joplin disaster. The early stages of the process hinged on a phone call to Derek Webb, co-founder of NoiseTrade, a music distribution site, who agreed to let Becker use the site to publish the sampler and walked him through the rest of the steps: finding artists, signing paperwork and guaranteeing a partnership with a charity.

The project, like quite a lot of things seem to do today, found its footing on Twitter. Becker tweeted his intentions three times before Webb retweeted the message for him, after which his phone didn't stop ringing for three hours. After two days, Becker's inbox included 25 songs.

The final 18, from bands including Sleepy Kitty and Beth Bombara, were chosen based on lyrical content, flow and sound quality, and some of them will be available for the first time on Songs For #Joplin. On Friday, the album will go live at NoiseTrade.com/songsforjoplin, and those who wish to donate have the option of giving anywhere between $1 and $100 through PayPal.The proceeds will go to United Way, chosen because the charity has a branch in Columbia.

"When I spoke to United Way, I spoke to a lady named Lee, and I wanted to confirm that there was no overhead being taken," Becker says. "She more or less told me that United Way is breaking their usual rules and throwing 100 percent to the people in Joplin."

The album's inclusion of a hashtag -- the symbol of all that is cheesy, awesome and interesting about Twitter -- is a reflection of how it began. "It's part being tech-savvy and clever and part making its place in history -- if there is a place," Becker says. "We live in a world where, because of the Internet, everything is local.The global community is at our fingertips, and there's no excuse to ignore this."


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6 comments
Sunshynsuzi
Sunshynsuzi

Hey everybody - this is the son of a great friend of mine and his efforts are going to help make a huge difference, if WE help HIM... please follow this link and do whatever you can, which in turn will help JOPLIN during their time of need.  Thank you SO MUCH. 

Brian Palmer
Brian Palmer

Joplin thanks you. And I like hashtags myself.

Rob Graham
Rob Graham

Zach is in it to win it y'all!!!  And, it's official, I knew him way before he became a famous philanthropist.

Sarafina
Sarafina

I am so very thrilled to know Zach today. I hope this takes off and helps a ton of people who need as much help as we can provide. Now, where is the launch party? ;)

James Estes
James Estes

I'm all about this message.  but was oddly offended by "the symbol of all that is cheesy".  I absolutely do NOT see hashtags as cheesy and have a knee-jerk about those that do...

Carol Mertz
Carol Mertz

I can't express how proud I am of Zach for putting this together. It's going to be an amazing compilation of really talented artists, and is going to get money in the hands of people who can really help Joplin citizens. I'll be downloading it tomorrow.

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