Pope Francis: ‘Wake Up!’ Before You Go-Go!

Iconoclast Pope Francis bolsters his status as the hippest religious leader ever (competition was slim, but the fact that he made it into the category qualifies as a divine miracle). “Wake Up! Music Album with His Words and Prayers” is not the first pop release from a sitting pontiff, but it’s the first to go newschool, with digital distribution, through Believe Digital.

Believe bills itself as “the global independent market leader in distributing music and video to online streaming and download services” and actually has the infrastructure to make that claim plausible.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, the 11-year-old company now has offices in 30 countries, and is backed by, among others, TCV, Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV),  a leading technology venture capital firm that has raised nearly $10 billion in capital for roughly 200 firms, including Zillow,  CNET and VICE Media. Clearly an investor with diversified interests, Believe certainly balances out the virtue side of the equation.

The most widely circulated single, “Wake Up! Go Go! Forward!,” bookends the Holy One’s uplifting, spoken-word message with blues-rock backing described by Rolling Stone as “atmospheric synths, trumpeting horns and skyscraping electric guitars,” likening it to the sound of Montreal post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor (whose members were often labeled “anarchists”).

That artistic evaluation aside, Believe’s roster is, for the most part, wholesome. It’s also growing; in August Believe purchased Paris-based independent label Naïve, a self-described “haven for eclectic and non-conformist artists” with a catalog that runs from pop to classical to jazz, and includes artists M83, Marianne Faithfull, Pink Martini and Dandy Warhols. 

A big plus for Believe artists is the company’s global marketing clout. Believe claims to have one of the largest multi-channel networks for video distribution with over 3 billion views per month. Believe’s DIY distribution service tunecore.com provides access to online music services for all emerging artists, citing $541 million generated for its artists from more than 15.2 billion downloads and streams.

Impressive enough to attract if not the attention of the Almighty, at least the Divine One’s messenger on earth. No word on whether Pope Francis plans to tour in support of the album.

Pope Francis "Wake Up!" album cover

The debut album from Pope Francis: “Wake Up!” is available from Believe Digital.

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