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Koch-tail Party: Musicians Jam with Billionaires, Unaware They’re the Punchline

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Last September, Killer Mike was spinning hip-hop classics at a music festival afterparty in Louisville. He declared it was all about freedom of speech – “say what the f*** you want!” But here’s the kicker: the event was co-sponsored by Stand Together Music, backed by libertarian billionaire Charles Koch, the fossil fuel fortune guy.

Right winger Charles Koch

Now, why would Killer Mike, known for speaking out against police brutality and backing Bernie Sanders, associate with a political powerbroker like Koch? Some say it’s possible he didn’t know his set was linked to Koch, but critics are calling out Stand Together Music for sneakily collaborating with artists who might not share Charles Koch’s values.

Stand Together Music, led by Koch’s son Chase, claims to be promoting Charles Koch’s “principles-based legacy.” It’s not just some rich heir’s pet project; critics argue it’s a way for Koch to rope in pop musicians, young music fans, and other hard-to-reach folks into a conservative movement aiming to dismantle environmental regulations.

Pitbull

The organization, launched in 2022, boasts partnerships with artists like Machine Gun Kelly, The Chainsmokers, and Pitbull. Critics, like Connor Gibson, claim it’s a reputation laundering gig for Koch Industries, using musicians as unwitting pawns.

Even Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello is in the mix, featured in an interview on Stand Together Music’s site. But Morello’s politics, aligned with Occupy Wall Street and environmental causes, seem at odds with a conglomerate owning oil refineries and pipelines. Awkward, right?

Killer Mike

Representatives for the artists didn’t spill the beans when asked for comments. Stand Together Music, in response, said it’s “honored to partner with incredible musicians” and they’re all about using music to solve real-world problems.

MGK

But let’s not forget who’s pulling the strings – Charles Koch, sitting on a $60 billion net worth, and his late brother were heavy hitters in conservative politics. They threw big bucks at groups attacking climate solutions, and they even birthed the Tea Party movement. Stand Together Music seems like their latest attempt to diversify their appeal, reaching music fans this time.

Chase Koch, the musical heir, founded the organization, claiming it’s all about bringing people together. But critics argue it’s just another tentacle of the Koch network aiming to weaken government regulations, all while throwing fun concerts and parties.

So, while Killer Mike might be spinning tunes for freedom of speech, the real question is, who’s calling the shots behind the music? It’s a strange situation, where musicians might be unknowingly playing to Koch’s politics, all while trying to make a difference in the world of music.

Good luck with that.

Author

  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.

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