Canadian whisky brand Crown Royal has partnered with musicians Ari Lennox and Anthony Ramos to record a song to support venues at risk of closure due to the pandemic.
According to Diageo-owned Crown Royal, more than 90% of independent venues including bars and clubs are at risk of disappearing, which would put 15.6 million jobs at risk across the US.
In order to support struggling venues, Crown Royal partnered with US record labels Dreamville and Republic Records, as well as Lennox and Ramos, to record a cover of Sly and the Family Stone song, If You Want Me to Stay.
Available to stream now, for every play of the track Crown Royal will donate funds to charity Main Street Alliance to support venues across America. Lennox and Ramos will also donate their royalties from the song to the cause, and their donations will be matched by both Dreamville and Republic Records.
Lennox said: “I was honoured to be a part of this project with Crown Royal, where Anthony and I were able to use our passions for music to give back during these unprecedented times.
“Our hope is that people will connect with this cover as much as they did with the original. Ultimately, we want to bridge together generations of music lovers, while encouraging everyone to support local communities.”
As part of the integrated campaign, Lennox and Ramos will perform the cover in a new Crown Royal television ad campaign, which will air across the US. The track’s official music video will launch next week on Lennox’s Vevo channel.
Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of whiskies at Diageo, added: “Whether the music we listen to, the sports we watch or the great conversations we have, these landmarks represent the vibrancy of culture in bringing people from all walks of life together.
“As a brand built on giving back, it is our responsibility to create opportunities that champion the communities, places and spaces that have always been there for us. We’re thrilled to work with these talented partners and hope people will stream this song, so we can make a real impact.”
The launch of the Crown Royal funding drive follows the announcement from Diageo-owned Bulleit Bourbon that it will support the hospitality industry through its US$250,000 Bulleit Frontier Fund.