In the wake of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami last March, artists from around the globe came together to create one of the largest charity albums in history
. Everyone from U2 to Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Madonna and 25 other entertainers contributed some “38 chart-topping hits and classic tracks” to the work titled "Songs for Japan." Proceeds were to directly benefit the Japanese Red Cross Society — with all of the artists, music labels, publishers and even iTunes waiving royalties and fees to generate the maximum donation.
“The kind thoughts of the people who made and bought this album have given great encouragement to the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami," said Tadateru Konoe, president of Japanese Red Cross Society. "One hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to those most in need. On behalf of the Japanese Red Cross and the people affected by the disaster, I want to sincerely thank the artists and music companies for this generous support. It is much needed and greatly appreciated.”
According to an August statement
by the American Red Cross, the group's Japanese counterpart was successful in raising more than $3 billion for earthquake and tsunami relief. Much of this cash will be used for grants to benefit families (between $2,100 to $4,200 per family) depending on the extent of their losses.
In terms of donations from America, the Red Cross reported that more than $296 million had been raised (including an impressive $4.6 million in text donations), with $260 million already sent to relief efforts on the ground (i.e., clean water, temporary housing, sanitation).
“You are bringing everything forward to rebuilding and reclaiming the lives for yourselves and for others," he said. "It’s valued and inspiring to us. Your tenacity and perseverance and survival has a great effect on us, to the world community, and I applaud you all for that."