I remember a time when musicians could pretty much guarantee applause by reminding fans to vote. As an organization that works with recording artists to promote voter registration and participation, HeadCount made the "stage shout-out" an integral part of our playbook when we launched in 2004.
That carried through to 2008, when we registered over 100,000 voters.
For this year's midterms though, the whole tenor of things has been different, and most of the musicians we work with are understandably a bit more reticent - even when it comes to nonpartisan calls to simply cast a ballot.
That's why it stood out as courageous and inspiring when Jay-Z took to the stage at Bonnaroo last June and told the audience that "our generation changed the world" by voting.
Within his words I heard a powerful call for youth voter participation itself, regardless of ideology or party. And now, almost four months later, I am very proud to introduce HeadCount's "Vote Again 2010" public service announcement starring Jay-Z himself.
Culled directly from footage at Bonnaroo, this 30-second spot aims to illicit pride in the fact that more Americans under 30 voted in 2008 than any election in history. That fact appears on the screen followed by Jay-Z's impassioned plea to "fight for what you believe in." It ends with a simple call to "Vote Again 2010," a campaign adopted by various youth voter organizations.
CBS and Fuse have both agreed to run the spot, and we hope other TV networks jump on board.
A lot will be written about the youth vote over the next few weeks. And a lot has been written already (here's what I had to say about Jay-Z just after Bonnaroo) but sometimes the most can be said with the fewest words. Here's hoping our PSA does just that.