An accomplished musician is ditching record labels and teaming up with his fans — for good.

Singer-songwriter and producer Kenna wants to be the first-ever 'one-for-one' recording artist.

The music industry can be brutal.

Everyone wants their cut: record labels — especially record labels — agents, lawyers, managers, promoters, and other grabby middlemen.

It's particularly tough on artists supporting themselves while also trying to make a positive difference in the world through their craft.


Photo by Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr.

In the age of streaming, most recording artists face a steep climb just to make a living, let alone become philanthropists.

By the time we hear the songs, much of what we spend to enjoy our favorite musicians' hard work has been scattered by the winds of industry, and little remains for social responsibility.

Research by data journalist David McCandless, for example, shows that record labels take between 81% and 86% of payouts from streaming services like Spotify.

Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

Musician, producer, and activist Kenna Zemedkun has worked in the music-industrial complex for years and is ready for change.

He wants to produce and sell all of his music and perform all of his concerts as a "one-for-one" artist — one who "makes a commitment to improving the world through the daily sales and business of music."

Kenna Zemedkun (left) and his father. Image from Translator Labs (screenshot).

Being a one-for-one artist, according to Kenna, means cutting out the middlemen and clearing a path for partnership with his fans.

"Instead of giving the majority of money I make to the music industry, I could just use it to benefit the causes that you and I care about."

With fan support, Kenna plans to independently produce all of his music and send half of everything he earns to important causes.

"Every time you listen to the music I produce, get tickets to my show, click 'like,' 'buy,' 'share,' ... you knew it was funding change," he says in a one-for-one kick-off video. "Instead of giving the majority of money I make to the music industry, I could just use it to benefit the causes that you and I care about."

Among Kenna's causes are getting clean water to impoverished communities, fighting for women's rights, and (naturally) expanding arts education in schools.

Kenna's pilot one-for-one project is an album called "Songs for Flight." Here's the first recorded track:

Kenna hopes the one-for-one model inspires other musicians to seize their power, connect more deeply with their fans, and make an impact.

Time will tell if the one-for-one model can change the music industry, but in the meantime, Kenna's goal is straightforward: spread the word, raise money, make art, help people. Now that's a song worth hearing on repeat.

Watch Kenna's one-for-one kick-off video:

More
BXGD / Flickr and Cody Bondarchuk / Twitter

Sometimes the smallest gesture can turn your entire day around. You find a $5 bill in the pockets of your jeans. There's no traffic on the way home from work. Or by some divine intervention, you get 11 chicken McNuggets in your 10-piece box.

Of course, if you've ever had such a blessing, you know your first thought is, "Must be some sort of mistake."

But do you return the extra McNugget? Nope. You don't even feel an ounce of guilt for it. You dunk it in barbecue sauce and relish it like a gift from the gods.

A former McDonald's employee in Edmonton, Canada let the world know that sometimes an extra McNugget is not a mistake and he's become a viral hero.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
terimakasih0/Pixabay

When Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School principal Janet Behrens observed her students in the cafeteria, she was dismayed to see that they spent more time looking down at their phones than they did looking at and interacting with each other. So last year, she implemented a new policy that's having a big impact.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Cierra Brittany Forney

Children in middle school can be super shallow when it comes to fashion. To be part of the in-crowd, you have to wear the right shoes and brand-name clothing, and listen to the right music.

The sad thing is that kids that age can be so creative, but they're forced into conformity by their peers.

Some people never escape this developmental phase and spend their entire lives wasting their money on material goods and judging those who do not or can not.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

They say that kids say the darnedest things, and seriously, they do. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with young children knows that sometimes the things they say can blow your mind.

Since teachers spend more time around little kids than anyone else, they are particularly privy to their profound and hilarious thoughts. That's why NYC kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cowit started collecting kid quotes from teachers around the country and sharing them on her Instagram account, Live from Snack Time, as well as her websiteand other social media channels.

Keep Reading Show less
popular