If you were unable to catch at least a few minutes of Friday night’s international broadcast of “Hope for Haiti Now” you missed a truly amazing happening. Hosted by George Clooney and featuring an impressive “who’s who” from music and the movies, the event has, in just under 48 hours, raised more than $58 million—a new record for donations made through a disaster-relief telethon.
The “telethon” which ran on all of the major networks and most top cable channels was much more than just that; it was a true multi-media event like never before. Streamed online via Hulu, MTV, Fancast, AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, Bing.com, BET.com, CNN. com, VH1.com and Rhapsody, the 2-hour broadcast also ran on social media sites YouTube and MySpace.
Just as amazing: music performed was almost immediately available for downloading via iTunes. With rousing performances and interesting groupings that included Sting, Madonna, Neil Young and a show-stopper from Jay-Z, Rhianna, Bono and The Edge together, the “Hope for Haiti Now” album is now the biggest one-day LP pre-order in iTunes history and currently the #1 album in 18 countries. The aforementioned song with Jay-Z and friends (“Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)”) is currently the #1 song on iTunes in 12 countries.
The overall format was similar to 2001’s “America: A Tribute to Heroes” which ran in the weeks following the tragic events of September 11th. A top movie star would make an appeal followed by top music artists performing. No audience, no applause. Somber, emotional, powerful.
This time, though, the multi-media approach afforded greater reach, immediacy and results for a cause and people that truly cannot wait until tomorrow. And, once again, music proved its ability to move people and mountains.
“Hope for Haiti Now” will continue accepting donations for six months via: Online: www.hopeforhaitinow.org » Phone: 877-99-HAITI » Text: Text “GIVE” to 50555.