Friday , May 17 2024

“Hey little eligible voter, want free music?”

Suddenly it dawned on those with a more progressive agenda than the current denizens of the White House that there are a shitload of young people out there who probably lean toward their way of thinking (“progressive” change is for the young and the old – people in the middle tend to be a little more circumspect and cautious) who, if mobilized, could actually make a difference in elections, especially the national elections this fall.

Here is yet another get out the vote organization, this one quite openly bribing people to participate in the voting process: gives away music from Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Bright Eyes, The Sun, Lisa Loeb and others in a ground-breaking voter registration campaign!

    Los Angeles, CA – is a revolutionary project that will secure 100,000 new voters under 35 through a voter registration incentive program that offers free music downloads to MustVote members who register friends, family and neighbors to vote. In turn, MustVote is giving away songs from the world’s biggest bands. To date Pearl Jam, Radiohead, The Von Bondies, The Sun, Bright Eyes, Meat Beat Manifesto, Talib Kweli and Lisa Loeb have signed onto the growing list of artists who have contributed tracks to to help change declining voter turnout among young people.

    MustVote’s innovative voter incentive program works to engage artists and fans from several angles. Artists are involved by contributing unique, often unavailable elsewhere, tracks for download and encouraging their fans to get involved in the political process through the site. Mustvote’s members, including those under 18, recruit unregistered voters to register. Members become eligible for downloads for every successfully non-registered voter who registers through the website. Unregistered voters can then register on the site and become members themselves, creating a viral loop that will register thousands of voters.

    Additionally, this unique structure promotes activism and awareness among teens 17 years and younger by encouraging them to recruit friends and family who are of legal age to vote in this year’s election. As co-founder Brian Klein states, “Anyone who helps register someone to vote is eligible for free music. I don’t care how old you are, we all have something at stake this November.” was launched with generous support from League of Independent Voters and the E-VOLVE foundation.’s downloads are distributed by Napster. is a pending 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Los Angeles, California.

    Artists that are currently on board include:
    All American Rejects
    AM Radio
    Auf der Maur
    Braille Method
    Bright Eyes
    Channel Live
    Chris Pierce
    Daniel Ahh
    David Knopfler
    Death Cab For Cutie
    Eagles Of Death Metal
    Flipper Dalton
    George W. Bush
    Ingram Hill
    J. Boogie’s Dubtronic Science
    Johnathan Rice
    Lisa Loeb
    Lizzie West
    Meat Beat Manifesto
    My. Egypt
    Paige Lewis
    Pearl Jam
    Pittbull Daycare
    Radio 4
    Richard Humpty Vision
    Something Corporate
    Stephan Smith
    Talib Kweli
    The Bellrays
    The Creek Dippers
    The Distillers
    The Dollyrods
    The Faint
    The Fever
    The Fixx
    The Sun
    Tim Easton
    Unknown Hinson
    Von Bondies
    Wild Colonials
    Young Heart Attack

So the pitch is pretty politically neutral on its face, but the Mission statement is less subtle:

    It pretty simple, if 18-25 year olds don’t vote this November 2 we look forward to shouldering our parent’s deficit, their wars and the polluted environment they left behind.

    With your help MustVote will register you, your friends and your family, and together we will have our voices heard in Washington!

Even less so is this:

    5 Reasons You MustVote This November 2!
    05. Education
    The current administration severely underfunds its own education plan. This administration’s budget contains $9.4 billion less than the $34 billion needed by the states to comply with NCLB. A recent report prepared by the House Appropriations Committee predicts further underfunding in future budgets – $1.9 billion in 2006 increasing to $4.6 billion by FY2009. These cuts will result in drastic cuts in services, including support services for teachers.

    04. Environment
    The “Clear Skies” initiative is designed to amend the Clean Air Act, but will actually undermine efforts to produce cleaner air. As NRDC reports,” compared to current law, the Clear Skies plan would allow three times more toxic mercury emissions, 50 percent more sulfur emissions, and hundreds of thousands more tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides.”

    03. Health Care
    Nearly 13 million young adults age 19-29 have no health insurance. Between 2000 and 2002, more than two million Americans age 19-29 lost their health coverage.

    Two million losing coverage in two years, That’s more than 2,700 every day. Adding up to more than 13 million 19-29 year olds nationwide who have no health care. The long and short of it: If you are young, you are twice as likely to have no insurance.

    02. Economy
    Millions of Americans remain out of work, underemployed and underpaid. With few new jobs being created, and the pay for new jobs well below the average pay of those jobs lost over the past few years, millions of middle-class workers face a real economic squeeze and a declining standard of living.

    All the sunny rhetoric in the world can’t hide the facts: the U.S. economy is simply not creating new jobs at the rate necessary to make up for millions of lost jobs over the last four years or even at a pace required just to keep up with population changes.

    01. National Security
    We are not safe. This chilling conclusion from the Commission should come as no surprise given this administration’s choices since September 11. The White House’s war in Iraq – which has taken too many lives and drained nearly $150 billion American tax dollars – has overshadowed our successful effort to topple the Taliban and disrupt al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Now, al Qaeda is regrouping, new terrorist threats are emerging in Iraq, and holes in homeland security – particularly ports, industrial plants, and borders – remain unplugged. We are not safe because the administration has made the wrong choices on terrorism.

So it isn’t just that “you must vote,” it’s that you must vote the way we tell you too, and if you don’t you should feel guilty as hell for taking our free music and making the wrong choice, dumbass.

Didn’t the big-city political machines ply voters with whiskey? Wasn’t that frowned upon in the interest of “good government”? This bribery-and-indoctrination campaign rather rubs me the wrong way, regardless of its specific agenda. In fact, the smug assumption that “once we have told you all the facts, you will doubtless see it our way, young person (want more free music?),” is the antithesis of democracy.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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