headphones and add their own voices or instruments. His microphone encounters singers in New Orleans and Amsterdam, a circle of Zuni drummers in New Mexico, an Italian saxophonist, a cellist in Russia, a South African female vocal ensemble, and so on. The producer mixes them all together, and the video, put up on YouTube, attracts the attention of 15 million people directly, plus millions more via news and late night shows on television.
"Playing for Change" has been an Internet phenomenon, and a novel one even by the compressed time scale of the medium--it's easy to forget that YouTube is less than five years old. It's novel as well in its attempt to leverage the sheer momentum of tens of millions of people who have seen something and felt it was worthwhile enough to tell their friends about it. With a goal no less lofty than to "inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music," Playing for Change has filled in the space between clever YouTube notion and distant ideal with some intermediate steps: a documentary film, various television appearances, and a foundation, to be financed by profits, that will set up music and art schools around the world.