It’s no secret that U2 front man Bono has been an activist for decades, making moves on stage and off to raise awareness of issues ranging from poverty to education, the degradation of third world countries and their people, and how nations in the positions of power do little good with said power to help lift the rest of the world up. In many ways, Bono’s arguments about the financial disparity in the world are totally irrefutable—he’s usually right on the money (pardon the play on words) when it comes to global injustice. But what separates Bono and U2 from most other celebrity figures and musical acts is their willingness to get right in the mix and make things happen. Music for change is real, and no one has proven that more than Bono.
In the band’s latest effort to lend a hand in raising money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, they tried something interesting and innovative on Super Bowl Sunday, and in partnership with (RED)—which Bono cofounded with Bobby Shriver—released a new song, “Invisible” on iTunes, downloadable for free. Less than an hour after the first commercial for “Invisible” aired during the Super Bowl, more than one million people had downloaded the new song, which will also be a cut on the band’s album set to debut sometime this spring.
Bank of America, which had already set a long-term pledge of $10 million dollars with (RED) to span across the next two years, upped their own ante by adding an more than $2 million additional based upon the success of the “Invisible” download campaign and its unbelievable success. In the days following Super Bowl Sunday, the download of the new U2 song was no longer set to download for free, but for every $1.29 purchase of the song, every single cent will go toward the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
As just one of the many financial successes created by (RED) and the companies it has partnered with, the free download of “Invisible” may have seemed to only make a difference for those who wanted to download the song for free—after all, good free music, especially free U2 songs—are hard to find. But the effort proved to be something that people who had seen the (RED) campaign commercial or heard about “Invisible” still took a strong interest in many days after the song was free. Millions more paid the $1.29 for the song, and all of that will help (RED) come that much closer to completely eradicating the AIDS virus during our lifetime.
Though many of us don’t like to think of suffering in the world, it is a reality, and money is one of the primary ways we can make a difference, especially when we’re so far removed from where the problems are; in this case, mainly Africa. The (RED) campaign, Bono, and Shriver have all been adamant that it is possible to end AIDS sooner rather than later based on a financial commitment and because of the dramatically lowered cost of the variety of drugs and drug cocktails that treat and even cure AIDS today.
With a strong focus on ending AIDS in children born with the disease, those who support (RED) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria know a difference can be made when we pledge our hearts and just a little piece of our wallets to end suffering that simply does not have to exist.