When is it ethical to profit off a crisis?

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing advice, organizations around the world have devised unique ways to contribute to helping out those most affected.

Mortgages have been revoked, monies are being given to those who have lost livelihood due to their inability to work and unreasonable attempts by merchants to profit off people’s desperation is being mitigated.

Music artistes have not been left out in the eclectic attempts to give-back.

American rapper, Card B announced that proceeds from her ‘accidental’ Coronavirus inspired track, curated by DJ iMarkkeyz will be donated to those most affected by the diseases.

Here in Nigeria, we have a few adopters of the trend. Alte music frontliner, Odunsi the engine, was one of the first to ride the trend, releasing a song titled ‘Stay Low (Quarantine)’ that had no bearing on the crisis at hand but nevertheless was peddled as such. 

Odunsi is not alone in this regard. A few other artistes have followed in that same fashion and created music off the present crisis.

Because streams have been on an all-time high with every online conversation incorporating the words, Coronavirus or Covid-19; music artistes are beginning to devise creative ways to circumvent the system for profit. 

Artistes are hitting the studio and coming out with hurriedly- produced, Corona virus inspired songs to boost their visibility.

The overall, altruistic claim is that the music released is geared towards advancing calm and forestalling panic, but from the look of things that doesn’t seem very likely.

Why?

Because there is little or no talk of giving back to those affected by artistes from this side of the divide. That may be because we are still not too badly hit here or the fact that there are no such noble intentions in the works.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that songs topping the charts globally right now are those that have latched onto the ‘viral trend’ (pun intended) and have copious mentions of the pandemic at hand, either directly or otherwise.

As much as we need more Africans like the Ndlovu Youth Choir to help create awareness about the virus and the subsequent pandemic, we need to draw a line between profit and profiteering.

Because the true test of whether your motives are selfless, is not just in how the lyrics of your pandemic-inspired song is crafted, but in how magnanimous you are with the gains gotten from the crisis.

Sounds right to me.

This article was written by Henri ‘Yireconnect on Instagram with him here

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