About the Project

The music project is a global effort to collaborate with musicians for the purpose of disseminating the journalism to a younger and more diverse audience. The logic in this tactic is that too often worthy stories go unknown because traditional news outlets wait for people to come to their platforms. The music project tries to take this reporting out to a wider public using music platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Play.

From classical to hip hop to electronic, hundreds of musicians have joined the effort. The albums they create are emotionally inspired by stories produced by The Outlaw Ocean Project. Many of the artists use sound samples from field recordings collected during the reporting and recorded passages from the written stories. Paired in videos and in album art with material shot during the reporting, the music is then released on dozens of music platforms. Listeners of the music and viewers of the related videos then read more about the reporting that inspired the songs.

The Outlaw Ocean Music Project has been widely reviewed by NPR, Billboard Magazine, GQ, San Francisco Classical Voice, The Pulitzer Center and elsewhere. The music project was created by Ian Urbina.

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Winner of the 2021 Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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