Birds Records is the first ever music label that transferred the streaming model to the charity. We turned the birdsong of endangered species into music samples and made them available to artists for free, on condition that all proceeds go to WWF to fund bird protection. It became the basis for our record label monetizing birdsong. Saving rare species of birds from extinction did not require any behavioral change from people. They just must continue doing what they love to do – listen to the music.
Primarily WWF Russia activities are funded by private donations. But charity in Russia is still at the initial stage. People seldom donate for charity and even more seldom for environmental charity. More than 50% of Russians have never made donations for any charity, more than 80% do not donate for environmental causes because it is not part of the Russian mass culture yet, the majority still believes that this should be rather done by the State.
Those who have donated were often doing it on an impulse, donating to buzz- cause of the moment. But scarce one-off donations could not be sufficient for solving such problem as saving endangered birds from extinction. WWF needed a constant inflow of funds intersective of the media interest and social buzz. This was extremely challenging as only 2% of donors used automatic subscriptions for regular monthly donations.
Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)
To create a sustainable revenue stream WWF, Yandex.Music and Universal music transferred the streaming model to the charity. We turned birdsongs of endangered species into music samples and made them available to artists for free, on condition that all proceeds go to fund bird protection. It became the basis for our record label Birds Records.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
We needed a financial model that would ensure a regular automatic inflow of funds to WWF. Such model did not exist in Russian charity, so we had to turn to other industries. The model we needed existed in musical streaming. Here artists receive payouts every time their tracks are played.
WWF seeks “to be the voice for those creatures who have no voice”, but birds do have voices of their own. This allowed us to borrow the music streaming model and turn the birds into performers so that they could receive payouts like human artists do and provide WWF with regular funding that would not be dependent on media hype and societal buzz.
Describe the execution (20% of vote)
With the help of the Birds Protection Union, we recorded the birdsong of endangered species and made music samples out of them. We made them available for everyone to use to create music, on condition that all the money earned from streaming went to WWF to protect birds.
We launched Birds Records with the track “Dich” from popular electronic musician Ivan Dorn.
It burst into the charts and went viral on YouTube soon after release. Birds Records became the most discussed topic in the press and on social media. Russia’s most popular late-night show dedicated a whole segment to Birds Records.
Soon we got over 500 tracks from popular and upcoming artists – they use bird’s samples and share singles by streaming platform. The best of them was released as the second album.
Streaming revenue from the singles generates money for birds via WWF.
List the results (30% of vote)
We changed the donation model to simply clicking the “play”. Our solution provided WWF with a stable income to protect birds while people listen to music. Such positive experience opens new prospects for charity globally as our financial fundraising model is applicable to many sectors.
Birds Records became one of the most successful campaigns of WWF Russia and already increased donations by 65% in comparison to previous birds’ project. The money collected is used for restoring the habitat of Far Eastern storks.
First stage (12.2019 – 03.2020)
• ‘Dich’ released
• 2 mln. contacts of PR coverage
• +73% WWF website traffic increase.
• 1.2 million views on YouTube; 1 mln of listenings on platforms
• 1 mln rubles donation,
Second stage (04.2020 – 04.2021)
• The second single ‘Birds’ released
• 2 mln views on YouTube; 1,3 mln listenings on platforms
• 1,26 mln rubles donation flow